Wholesaler Techniweld takes well-known original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) welding materials and improves the quality, design, functionality, and price. This unbeatable combination has put its home brands on the welding industry’s must-have lists.
Collaboration with the company’s dedicated team is rapid, easy, and satisfying. Unlike other wholesalers, Techniweld offers expert advice on all fronts – online, in person, or over the phone. Its multi-lingual staff members have all been in the industry for many years and include materials scientists as well as engineers.
This sterling family business from Atlanta, Georgia, stretches across America. It grew from a single distribution center to a powerful home brand manufacturer and international wholesale distributor with a reputation for being trustworthy and cost-effective. Its welding, safety, and industrial supplies range from specialized welding gasses and fuels to safety equipment.
“Our customers supply their customers with quality welding consumables, safety-related products, and such. We are committed to being a reliable partner,” says Barry L. Johnson, vice president of inside sales.
The business’ mainstay is its sales department which is divided into outside and inside sales divisions. The inside division is hands-on and always available. It handles everyday order processing, technical inquiries, while the outside sales team visits manufacturing plants to offer demonstrations, quality training, and safety training. “This is the most important aspect of our business. Everything else we do stems from these functions,” says Barry.
Techniweld offers a number of brands, with its Star product line being by far the most popular. The Star line includes everything needed for welding, except machines, and the reason for its success is clear. The industry giant has spent many years of intensive research and expert engineering to improve on popular technologies to create its various house brands at very competitive prices.
Its Arc Star range includes all components that are used in welding, including electrode holders, gouging torches, carbons, cable connectors, rod ovens, welding cables, ground cables, and cable lugs. Then there is also a Blue Star line that offers torch components, while its Chem Star collection includes chemical applications that greatly ease the welding process. Its home series of filler metals also used during the welding process include titanium, aluminum, copper alloys, cobalt alloys. The Armour Guard line offers a variety of safety equipment like protective blankets, welding helmets, face shields, safety glasses, earplugs, welding curtains, and safety clothing. There are also the Grip Star, Tig Star, and Mig Star brands of further accessories and gasses.
Its home brand certainly is a big part of its prosperity, as is its strong team. “The majority of the people who work for us have been in the industry for over twenty-five years. Our salesforce is incredibly knowledgeable – something that has been very beneficial for us,” says Barry proudly.
Its salespeople are positioned around the world, including all of the Americas, with a representative in Columbia who serves Central and South America and another who serves the Caribbean area from the island of Curaçao. There are few corners of the globe that are not covered by Techniweld. It even recently acquired a representative in the United Arab Emirates who will be serving the Arabian Peninsula region and further afield.
The company was founded in 1985 by two very passionate industry legends. Jerry Robinson had been in the business for many years when he met Eddie Johnson at a trade show. The two struck up a friendship and started what was then known as Robinson Technical Products South East. Today, several members of the Johnson family represent the company, including Eddie’s brother, Barry, who started with the company in 1986 – around six months after it opened its doors.
Eddie and Barry grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit inherited from their father, who, after leaving the military, started his own real estate company and then went on to establish an insurance firm. After his retirement, Mr. Johnson, Senior joined the family business at Techniweld as financial manager until he retired for the last time. Their father’s favorite advice to encourage bravery and initiative in his children was that they should jump, because otherwise “the parachute would never open.”
Barry’s own favorite quote on how to achieve success is one from Lead the Field author Earl Nightingale, who said: “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
“You’re going to either work for somebody else, or you’re going to work for yourself. To accomplish the latter, it is always a good idea to have a reason for your ‘why?’ Make sure you have a solid reason for going out on your own other than just wanting to do your own thing,” Barry adds.
The business has grown significantly, thanks to decisions by its management to secure acquisitions. One of its proudest moments is the fact that, at the end of the last quarter of its inception year, it had no negative debt, and it has managed to keep it that way to this very day. “We’ve always prided ourselves on being entirely debt free as far as possible,” Barry says. Thanks to the company’s lack of debt, it never had to lay off employees during economically tough times. Techniweld has a deep concern for people and especially for its great staff. It has been celebrated for employing veterans and recently received official recognition from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for doing so.
After many years of diligent service, Eddie Johnson has semi-retired, and his son Hunter has joined the team as managing partner. He will eventually take over his father’s position as president. “Hunter has had great success with a number of his own companies. His education, tech know-how, and business expertise make him a great fit for us. He’s really brought us into the twenty-first century with an overall technological upgrade throughout all areas of the company,” says Barry.
With this upgrade, Techniweld’s website has also had an overhaul, and now customers can order online at their convenience, enjoying multilingual service and speedy processing when it suits them. The firm’s lack of bureaucracy is intentional, and, even though it is much bigger now than a few years ago, it has retained its true entrepreneurial spirit. Staff members have the authority to make decisions as fast as possible to make things happen and keep clients happy. Of course, the result is people who are confident in handling challenges of all sizes.
Everyday queries like pricing or freight arrangements are handled swiftly and effectively, something on which many clients commend the company. Plus, its sales team’s incredible product knowledge has made Techniweld popular for being able to identify clients’ component inquiries based on nothing but descriptions of the part, entirely without part numbers. This is quite a treat when customers need something urgently but cannot supply a code.
“We’re really accessible. Our people’s knowledge is one of the main reasons people do business with us and continue to do business with us. That and the fact that we offer really high-quality products at competitive prices in a timely manner,” says Barry.
The company’s improved web portal has also eased service access, and the database is growing rapidly. The feature allows customers to enter a competitor’s part number to find Techniweld’s correlating home brand part. This saves time and makes it easier to order after hours, giving clients time to plan better. Shipping and order tracking is made easy thanks to automated messaging that keeps both the clients and the sales team up to speed with the order’s status.
Techniweld is always expanding and listens very closely to its customers’ requests. For instance, after discovering that tarpaulins are in great demand, it did its research, found a good product and launched it earlier this year. “We listen to our clients, and if there is enough interest in a particular item, we’ll search for a product that works well until we find it. By the time we introduce it to the market, we know it’s great quality,” says Barry.
The company protects its customers from rising costs by buying bigger quantities whenever it gets wind of an imminent price increase. It also supports customers’ sales and promotional efforts by printing flyers with their names and retail pricing on that can be given to end-users, together with the digital versions used in e-blasts.
The company also contributes its fair share to charity. One of the causes it supports is Teen Challenge, a global Christian organization that supports teens, adults, and families to overcome substance abuse and other issues. Techniweld is very involved in the program, and Eddie Johnson dedicates much of his time as a board member.
Barry does not doubt that the industry will continue to grow. “A lot of people don’t realize how many things contain welding. While the steel industry is a bit volatile at the moment, American steel returning to the country will bring more and more growth in the welding industry,” he says. “There’s a reason welding is being advocated as a career. Welders make good money, and the industry needs them.”
Barry also assures me that these days, welders work in much-improved environments with a lot of support and safety gear to make the job easier and much less hazardous. And Techniweld has certainly kept up with the times. “It’s not the same as it was thirty years ago. People will now tell you that it is a wonderful profession.” He believes in the words of business author Jon Gordon who said that a culture of greatness does not happen by accident. Greatness happens when a leader expects it, and everyone in an organization builds it, lives it, values it, and reinforces it.
Techniweld’s future is set. While its current system is evolving to offer a two-day delivery period across the US, it also looks forward to setting up a new operation on the West Coast and doubling its size within the next ten years. As part of this vision, the company will be attending the FABTECH expo in Atlanta in November this year, at booth number C13075. The Techniweld team will share their best solutions and look forward to welcoming everyone to the event.