The Right Part, in the Right Place, at the Right Time

Tifco Industries

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Tifco Industries is proudly family-owned and serves as a one-stop-shop for any maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) product need. Tifco offers over 45,000 MRO products in more than 3,000 product lines, from over 600 domestic manufacturers and suppliers in the US, bringing outstanding value to its customers.
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Since 1961, Tifco Industries has provided an extensive selection of quality MRO products, customizable maintenance solutions, and inventory services. Tifco Industries was founded by Richard Brown and his wife in Houston, Texas. Founded as Texas Industrial Fastener Company, the company changed its name to Tifco as it became increasingly national rather than focused on state sales.

Mrs. Brown was responsible for the administrative operations in the office while Mr. Brown managed the outside sales team. Thanks to Richard’s industry experience and sales skills, Tifco quickly established a reputation for superior service and products. The sales team was originally a modest group but has since grown to a national network of 250 sales representatives.

The Browns were eventually joined by their son Bob who continues to build upon the legacy of his parents. Bob joined the company at thirteen and learned the business from the warehouse floor. Under his father’s mentorship, he worked his way up and assumed the role of president in 1985.

The Brown family made it their focus to sell a broad choice of high-quality products while building long term relationships. Tifco’s growing list of customers have purchased with confidence for over fifty-five years and Tifco continues to grow both its product line and its repair and maintenance solutions. Each year, the company adds at least 1000 to 1500 core products to meet the changing needs of its customers. These changing needs are identified by a professional team of highly trained inventory maintenance specialists, many of whom have over 15 years of industry experience.

“Our company was built upon selling to customers who appreciate the importance of quality products instead of purchasing cheaper quality products just to have a lower price,” said Bob Brown. “Buying cheaper quality MRO products that don’t last as long or perform as effectively as higher quality MRO products can lead to equipment breakdown and costly downtime, which destroys any savings from buying a cheaper quality product.” It takes a great deal of customer education on Tifco’s part to demonstrate the value of this approach.

Recently, Bob achieved what he considers one of the greatest achievements: his son Chris joined the family business, becoming the third generation of Browns to do so. “Having the third generation coming into the company really allows us to remain a family-based company while also bringing in fresh ideas to meet the changing needs of the marketplace,” said Brown.

Being a family-owned business also allows Tifco the opportunity to do what it takes to satisfy customers’ needs. “We don’t have to worry about stockholders or worry about somebody making their quarterly numbers so that their stock doesn’t go down,” Brown explained.

“We can make long-term decisions of stocking heavier than most other companies. We maintain a very strong inventory even with the slower moving items because we feel that is part of the necessity of being able to take care of our customers’ needs.” A strong inventory level is validated by Tifco’s 99 percent fill rate on its product line.

Tifco always endeavors to offer the best value through its vendor managed inventory services. Tifco works with its customers to establish proper inventory levels to ensure that customers have “The Right Part, in the Right Place, at the Right Time.”

The company serves its customers from two distribution centers strategically located in Houston, Texas and Reno, Nevada and has a national presence thanks to its network of sales representatives in nearly every part of the country including Hawaii and Guam. Tifco’s international customers can access its product catalog through its e-commerce platform.

Tifco Industries’ products are used by customers in numerous industry sectors, but the company has seen dramatic growth in the area of safety products. “One of the trends that we’ve seen over the last ten years, for example, is in the area of safety products. That’s been a major expansion in our product line because of the increased focus on the necessity for all businesses to keep their employees safe with what is called personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Bob Brown.

Tifco Industries also provides universal hydraulic pressure, flow, and accumulator testing products, which were all well received at CONEXPO 2017.

“One of the products that makes up this family of products is what we call our HydraTest product line. We have what are called HydraTest kits, which are basically universal hydraulic pressure test kits that allow our customers to do hydraulic pressure tests on over one hundred different brands of OEM mobile hydraulic equipment,” said Brown.

“This is very important because, in the real world, customers have to maintain and deal with multiple brands of equipment,” noted Brown. “It’s not practical for each of these customers to have a different pressure test kit for every OEM.” Having one universal hydraulic pressure test kit saves the service technician valuable space in service trucks, where it isn’t practical to have many separate OEM kits. Having one universal kit saves time and, in turn, money. As Mr. Brown likes to say, “It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”

Tifco’s education and training is a consultative process by which it can identify the changing needs of its customers and the market. Thanks to its professional team of highly trained inventory management specialists, Tifco is ready to adapt quickly.

An example of the company’s responsiveness to customer needs is its system of parts replacement. With most OEM-specific test kits, when individual parts or components are lost, one must have the entire kit replaced. Tifco has all of the parts in its test kits etched with a part number to ensure rapid parts replacement that can be done individually, when necessary. “Those are the kinds of things that the service technicians really appreciate.”

Tifco has always done its part to support American jobs and businesses, making every effort to obtain its products from domestic suppliers and manufacturers. Strong relationships with its vendors have led to ongoing success.

The company’s greatest assets, according to Brown are the people at Tifco. In a testament to the work environment that has been developed over the decades, an impressive thirty percent of its workforce has been with the company for longer than twenty years. One employee has been with Tifco for fifty-four years.

Each year, to recognize the role of its employees in the company’s success, Tifco holds an awards banquet. Award winners are showcased in Tifco’s Wall of Honor space for the various achievements earned by its employees.

As a company, Tifco has also been recognized for many awards. “We were recognized by the [General Services Administration] as a small business contractor of the year in 2006 by the facilities, maintenance, and hardware division in recognition of our specialized kits that we developed for our troops that were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan,” recalled Brown.

Tifco is also a proud supporter of the United States Military and Federal Government through philanthropic efforts. Between 2009 and 2013, Tifco Industries sent 344 care packages overseas to deployed troops. Tifco has received flags and certificates of appreciation from the military which are proudly displayed in the company’s hall of honor. And Tifco assists the local community through the Cypress Assistance Ministries (CAM) as well as participating in quarterly blood drives.

Tifco Industries exemplifies complete integrity. Whether dealing with a vendor, a customer or an employee, Tifco Industries wants the very best. For the future, Brown wants the company to grow steadily without compromising service or quality, and he looks forward to seeing the third generation in action.

“We’re not trying to be the biggest company out there. We try to maintain the corporate culture that we have, be the best quality supplier we can be, and provide the best value in products and services for our customers,” explained Brown. “If you get too big too fast, you can lose that personal touch, and that is something I don’t ever want to do.”

Building the Next Generation

As thousands of experienced workers retire across North America every day, it is small wonder many industries are concerned about the future. It has been a decade since the oldest members of the baby boom generation started leaving their jobs, removing from the workplace decades of experience and skills that are tough to replace. The situation is so dire that, when younger workers are not available or knowledgeable enough to take over, retired staffers are often called back to work on a part-time basis.

November 14, 2019, 12:15 PM EST