When it comes to growth and building its marketshare, “the sky’s the limit” for SpaceGuard Products, President and Owner Eddie Murphy says. “I’m proud of the fact that we are a second-generation business that’s been profitable and grown 10 percent a year while remaining family owned,” says Murphy, who purchased the company in 2012.
When he joined the company as its sales manager in 2008, Murphy initially helped SpaceGuard grow by overhauling its sales and marketing staff. From there, he helped build its reputation among target industries. “Our reputation is what I’m most proud of. I’ve put my personal name on everything we do. We go above and beyond the call of duty for our customers, from giving a quicker response time on a quotation to generating qualified sales leads specific to a distributor,” he says. “When a customer has an issue, I don’t hesitate to take ownership of it.
“I still get on planes and help our distributors and customers in the field,” Murphy adds. “That may sound simple, but it’s not something a lot of companies do – we add a personal touch to our work.”
The company is a leading manufacturer of wire partitions and area guarding products including woven and welded metal wire mesh partitions, mesh storage lockers, rack safety panels, aisle guarding and mezzanine rail guarding products. The company offers wire mesh partitions in standard and custom sizes.
A diverse base
Target markets for SpaceGuard’s products include data centers, government or military installations, offices, retail stores, residential buildings, distribution centers or warehouses.
“Whenever someone is trying to separate people from something or keep equipment separated, we’re there,” Murphy says. “We’re fortunate to have such a diverse customer base, so when the government isn’t spending, the data communication or manufacturing sectors can make up that business.”
The company manufactures its products in a 50,000-square-foot facility in Seymour, Ind. SpaceGuard processes wire and steel posts using methods including automated mesh weaving, welding and punching. The company also performs finishing processes such as powder coating in the facility.
“Our product is historically an industrial product, but one of the biggest changes for us in recent years is the increased use of our systems in residential, office and data center settings,” he adds. “Those markets expect a furniture-quality finish instead of an industrial look; our powder coating and finishing processes allow us to meet that need.”
SpaceGuard sells its products through a nationwide distribution network. The company works with a third-party transportation company to drop-ship its products in less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments, often within 48 hours. The company also utilizes a variety of full truckload shipping methods.
Unleashing the Beast
Although the company’s products are pretty straightforward on the surface, they are often used in diverse and complex applications that require them to be adaptable to various environments and security systems. “In the pharmaceutical industry, our cages are used to provide controlled access for certain substances, which must meet specific security requirements that our staff is fully trained on,” Murphy says. “A lot of our customers are also moving toward high-density storage and other mobile equipment, so our product has to adapt to that as well.“
The diverse use of SpaceGuard’s products recently led the company to revamp and simplify several of its product lines. “We wanted to make a smarter product overall while reducing the hardware and number of parts that go into it,” he adds. “We wanted to redesign our base product so it can do everything and increase our manufacturing efficiencies in the process.”
The company in February introduced its new product line, BeastWire Mesh Guarding™, which replaces six of its seven product lines. “Our previous products were all somewhat different in their construction. If I wanted to put up an eight-foot-high cage, I would have needed to choose from five different styles of posts,” Murphy says. “BeastWire is designed to use the same post on all products, in any instance; we want to make it easier for the customer to use.” BeastWire also includes fully reversible hinge doors that do not compromise the high security aspects of its original design. “We’ve put the hours in the field with our installers. We understand their frustrations with previous and competitive designs,” Murphy adds. “We owed it to them to design a product that builds the way they are assuming it should be built.”
In addition to streamlining the parts associated with the line, SpaceGuard also introduced an online configuration tool to assist customers in their placement. The 3-D tool allows customers to view how BeastWire products would look in their facility and enable them to design a storage cage or other system specific to their needs. “With this new product, we’re making it simpler for the customer to learn about it by reducing the amount they have to know,” he adds. “We want to make the purchasing process simpler for the end user so they can make an educated purchasing decision with our product.”
SpaceGuard recently redesigned its corporate websites for both BeastWire and its other brand, FordLogan, to better educate and support its customers. FordLogan, a woven wire partition product line, dates its history back to the 1930s. SpaceGuard formed in 1990 following the consolidation of Logan Wire Company and Ford Fence Company, which previously manufactured the lines. Murphy’s father purchased the company in 1995.
Spreading its Wings
With the new product line in place, SpaceGuard intends to increase its physical footprint. The company in February began plans for an expansion to its facility. “Our plan is to double our manufacturing and warehouse space within the next 18 months,” Murphy says. “We are completely full in our current footprint and are pushing on the walls at this point.”
The company’s growth presents it with the challenge of finding qualified employees. “Like every manufacturer, we have a fairly tenured group that has been with us for a while,” he adds. “Attracting and retaining employees is very important for our long-term success.”
SpaceGuard offers employees competitive salary and benefits packages it hopes to improve upon further. “We’ve worked diligently on a benefit package that will help us stand among the larger manufacturing and distribution companies in our region,” Murphy says.
The company’s family oriented culture also helps it attract prospective staff members. SpaceGuard actively encourages employees to participate in community activities and charitable work for organizations including the United Way.
Despite the company’s small size, it also offers 401k matching and an employee wellness program that includes gym memberships.
“My personal stance in business is to do right by others,” Murphy adds. “I inherited my business sense from my father, and learned about compassion from my mother – and apply both of those to what we do every day.”