K/M Specialty Pumps & Systems Inc.

After 30 years, K/M Specialty Pumps & Systems Inc. has not only established itself as a successful business, but it also has had a hand in making others successful, Operations Manager Ronnie Franz says. “A significant portion of America’s infrastructure is made possible by K/M Specialty Products & Systems Inc.,” he states.

Based in Chandler, Ind., the firm supplies all types of specialty pumps, lubricants, and lubrication equipment and systems. Founder Russ Welder started the company in 1982, with the goal of selling and servicing municipal pumps.

“It started from nothing,” Franz says, explaining that Welder operated the company out of his garage. By 1994, K/M had grown large enough that it expanded into lubrications.

“It began designing and installing lubricant dispensing systems to incorporate a more intense program to its customers,” Franz says, adding that Welder expanded the business in 2002 to include hydraulic cylinders, pumps and motors.

Today, Franz says, the company employs a staff of 38 and enjoyed sales of more than $12 million last year. In addition to products, K/M Specialty also provides repairs for large hydraulic cylinders, pumps and motors.

Reaching Out

A seven-year veteran of K/M Specialty, Franz says the company stays successful by maintaining its strategy of continued growth. For instance, over the past 30 years, the firm opened branches in Indianapolis; Charleston, S.C.; and Louisville, Ky.; while also acquiring smaller companies.

These acquisitions include Pentair Pumps. “Pentair alone incorporates Aurora Pumps, Aplex Pumps, Fairbanks Morse and Myers Pumps [into our firm],” he says.

“These are, without a doubt, among the top companies in the world, and here’s the kicker: their products are made in America,” he states. “K/M ensures these exceptional products are put to good use especially in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.”

He notes that some of the company’s popular products today include ARO Pumps, Whitmore’s Lubricants, Thompson Pumplines and ABS Pumplines. The last two, he notes, have allowed the firm to open a new pump rental division.

Maintaining Quality

Expansion for K/M Specialty, Franz admits, is not an easy task. “It must be earned through quality product delivery and a unfaltering commitment to service,” he says, noting that this commitment includes maintaining a fleet of fully loaded service trucks to provide on-site installation, as well as 24-hour on-site service and repair.

K/M Specialty also maintains a $2 million inventory and tests its products in a $50,000 test pit. “This dedication to customer service has allowed K/M to develop quality relationships, with its 500-plus customers and build a reputation for doing honest business,” Franz says.

This year, he adds, marks the firm’s 30-year anniversary. Although it has not made plans yet for celebrating, Franz says his staff will be looking at the last three decades of pride as it has provided jobs and supported American industrial, municipal and commercial growth. “[K/M Specialty is] an example of the great things that can be achieved by determined individuals at a private company,” he says.

He says the company is looking to grow. “We aim to make a larger footprint right here in the Midwest [and] actually grow the locations that we have,” he says. EMI

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