Tennsco – Company holds key to storage and filing solutions
Fifty-three years ago, Les Speyer purchased a small, one-plant company in Dickson, TN. Today, the storage solutions company he purchased, now called Tennsco, has locked in strong sales as Dickson County, Tennessee’s largest privately held company with all products manufactured and assembled on premise.
Tennsco is a leading manufacturer and supplier of steel office and industrial storage and related products. It has eight manufacturing and warehouse facilities totaling 1.6 million square feet. Among its products are: steel lockers, storage cabinets, heavy-duty shelving, library shelving systems, filing systems, bookcases, multimedia storage systems and shop equipment.
The small business website, Manta, places the company’s annual revenue at more than $50 million, with some online estimates upwards of $100 million.
“He always dreamed big,” says Rachel Bradley, Director of Marketing for Tennsco, speaking of Les Speyer. “I don’t think he would have taken on an endeavor without planning on growing it.”
What sets the company apart from its competitors is service, product variety, and quality, she says.
“Our business model is unique in that we are both high volume and highly specialized. We are a hybrid in that we offer high-volume items like gray storage cabinets, one after the other. But then we also have a lot of niche, one-off products that are not offered by our competition.”
Competitors “usually do one or the other – high volume or highly specialized,” she notes. That Tennsco does both is “hugely advantageous.” Some customers get common products, “but they still need these unique items to satisfy a particular requirement of an end user. And it’s much more advantageous for them to be able to order and ship from one place than to have to cherry-pick around.” Thus, the company’s philosophy: “Storage Made Easy.”
In fact, Tennsco’s website emphasizes this goal of quality and service: “Only the highest-quality materials are used, and products are finished with either our highly durable powder paint or electro-deposition systems. Finally, our products are carefully packaged to help assure damage-free shipment. When you see the Tennsco logo, you know you are getting quality and value … and an uncompromising dedication to customer service.”
Now, this is what customers expect, says Tennsco President, Stuart Speyer. “The center of our focus has always been our customers, who inspire us to achieve excellence. Whether it’s a custom-engineered solution or a distinctive storage cabinet off the line, our customers have come to expect the best from us. It is our goal to meet or exceed our customers’ expectations.”
These accomplishments are aided, no doubt, by the long tenure of the company’s dedicated workforce – an average of more than a decade, with a quarter of the team serving for more than two decades.
Further, Tennsco offers a Quick Ship Program: 24 to 48 hour shipment on almost 2,000 of its top-selling SKUs (Stock Keeping Units).
“While Tennsco is well-known for offering a wide variety of filing solutions,” Bradley says, “we are a powerhouse also in cabinets, shelving, lockers, workbenches, etc.”
About a year and a half ago, Dickson-based Tennsco acquired two companies that primarily sold mobile storage solutions.
“Customers were buying shelving units from us and mobile systems from other companies,” Bradley says, “so in our continual drive to be a full-service storage solution for our customers, we made the decision to add mobile systems to our product lines.”
Historically mobile systems were used, primarily, for medical records – but now they can be seen across industries including museum archives, evidence storage, overflow books at libraries, art archives, etc. “The acquisition of the mobile system product line has proven to be a solid move for both our customers and Tennsco.”
Though numbers fluctuate because the business is project-based, Tennsco’s customers in Canada, Mexico and overseas complement its 90-plus percent U.S. customer base.
Indeed, it has been challenging to compete with businesses globally, mainly due to the domestic cost of steel. But if the past is any indication, a long shelf life for Tennsco is in store.
“It’s a challenge competing in a global economy” explains Bradley. “That’s where our service really, really makes a difference.”
What does the future hold for Tennsco?
“I see us continuing to focus on quality,” according to Bradley. “That’s really how we stand out. We’re going to continue to invest in engineering, customer service and premier packaging. We also continually tweak our production methods and staying on top of the latest innovations in automation, robotics, lasers, and production equipment, so we’re continuing to evolve, which we think is very important as we fight compete in the global market.”
With Tennsco’s determination to hold its place in the industry, if the competition plans to surpass this company’s achievements, it may as well shelve that idea.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Tennsco Corp.
WHAT: Manufacturer of office and industrial storage and filing products
WHERE: Corporate headquarters in Dickson, Tennessee