Growth and Focus for the Future
Transwall manufactures, supplies, and installs movable floor-to-ceiling and architectural wall systems and partners with clients in sectors ranging from finance to government to technology to media.
Having been in operation since the 1960s, Transwall has had the opportunity to grow and refine not only its product lines, but also its approach to customer service. The company is now fully dedicated to wall products and successfully competes with divisions of larger furniture companies, many of which are non-domestic. Transwall is rare as one of the few American-based companies specializing in wall products.
Company Chairman Jay Aikens says Transwall was founded in 1963 by his father, Hayes. Hayes started the company as a movable partitions manufacturer regionally based and locally focused in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Jay began working there in 1975, straight out of college. Four years later, the company purchased Virginia Metal Products, which enabled it to develop a better-engineered product and have access to national distribution and installers.
This was the impetus for the company to grow into a national corporation and capitalize on the boom of cubicles in office spaces. By the 1990s, the company moved to a new facility in West Chester, Pennsylvania. This is also when the high-end, movable wall system, Reasons was introduced. Considered cutting edge upon its debut, it is still an important part of the company’s catalogue to this day. The end of the 1990s saw furniture company Kimball International acquire Transwall, and the company continued to operate as a division of Kimball until 2005.
Aikens notes that the partnership with Kimball did a lot of good things for the company; however, Transwall’s movable wall system did not mesh with Kimball’s vision, so Aikens repurchased the business in 2005. Since then, Transwall has averaged twelve percent growth per year, with 2019 on track for record sales and profits.
The majority of the company’s clients are based in North America, with additional business internationally. Thanks to the earlier acquisition by Kimball, Transwall products have been introduced to different countries; however, the company is still focused on continued growth in the U.S. market. It has consistent work in forty states and opportunities to continue domestic and international expansion.
With such a proven history comes a degree of consistency in product manufacturing and delivery. “We know what we’re doing after fifty-five-plus years,” Aikens affirms. “We deliver product on time, all the time, [to] a lot of satisfied customers.”
Company Executive Vice President Marc Valois adds that the company’s reputation in its long-standing markets is stellar. “If we fall down, clients know we will fix it… we are a well-respected brand.”
Transwall has led the way with many innovations within its industry. The ‘ONE by Transwall®’ line was developed to handle uneven floor conditions within the office environment. The related ‘ONE LP’ or low profile was introduced to allow for a sleeker and more contemporary look and has been received with great success. It is now the company’s number one installed system.
In addition to the SILENCE double glaze system, Transwall is introducing Bridge, a unitized double glaze product with a high STC (Sound Transmission Coefficient) and a gorgeous slim profile design. Aikens notes that the company will be producing the Bridge line in earnest soon with an aim to take orders in the fourth quarter of 2019 and shipping beginning in January 2020.
Alongside its diverse product line, Transwall employs a fully turnkey business model, handling everything from field checks to delivery, to receiving and installation, and beyond. The installers are time tested and know the product inside and out.
As a great point of pride, some of Transwall’s workforce has been there for thirty to forty years. Aikens praises the team as very hands-on, with “a lot of passionate employees who care a lot about the products,” and a company culture that encourages sticking around, leading to a low overall turnover and an exceptional customer experience.
This approach is crucial for the company. “We don’t walk away from anything until it’s complete and everyone is happy,” Valois says, touting the company’s made-to-order manufacturing facility, in-house powder coat paint line and production capabilities, and a material engineering group that handles customization of products.
The company identifies as an engineer-to-order operation and customizes its standard product to adapt to clients’ needs. Transwall can also move quickly to react to market trends and the eight product lines give it the ability to meet a wide variety of needs.
Valois lists the company’s three main sets of clients as end-users, architectural firms, and general contractors, all of whom must be satisfied. Transwall’s relationships with end-users and continued drive to cultivate those relationships have taken it across the country and overseas. The company has a number of well-established clients and excels at serving them, even manufacturing legacy products to keep customers happy while working with them to convert to newer product lines. The company’s growth has been rapid over the past few years, and Valois says that catering to the different needs of these clients has helped the company succeed.
Aikens has seen a lot of customer loyalty, with some clients having been around for over twenty years. They know Transwall to be reliable and trustworthy. He says, “Competitors come and go, but a combination of good products and good people have kept Transwall here.” With plans for the future and a proven track record of success, Transwall looks forward to what comes next.