BWise Manufacturing builds quality trailers under the Bri-Mar and BWise brands. Thanks to a dealer network in thirty-six states, its market is vast and growing.
The BWise story began in 1995 under the Bri-Mar name, when Brian Wise and Marcus Blank set out as a two-man operation. It was listed as one of the top one hundred fastest-growing new small businesses in America for two years in a row in 1997 and 1998. Bri-Mar was growing rapidly and caught the attention of major players in the market.
“The orders started coming in a lot faster than the two of us could make. So we started to hire a couple of people. And then later, in 1995, we actually moved to a second location that was a little bit bigger and had eight to ten employees that continued to grow the company, building mainly hydraulic dump trailers, some utility trailers and equipment trailers,” explained Brian Wise, president and owner.
“In 1998, we’d only been in business for three years, but an investment group came along with an offer that was pretty attractive to us. They acquired the majority of the company, and Marcus and I stayed on as minority owners: I stayed on as president and Marcus ran production.”
This was the case for several years until Blank went his separate way to embark on new opportunities in the construction industry. Wise stayed on board even after the sale of the company to another investment group in 2003.
“The reason the investment group wanted to sell is that we met our five-year goal in about three years. They were looking to flip it like a lot of investment groups do and sold it to another investment group. I stayed on after that transaction for about a year and a half, and then I decided I was going to move on to start another company,” said Wise.
Wise departed from Bri-Mar in 2004, but, in 2012, he found his way back to trailer manufacturing when he founded BWise Trailers. At that point, his non-compete with Bri-Mar had expired, and he set out to manufacture premium products.
“In 2012, we started building and selling BWise Trailers, and in 2013, the owners of Bri-Mar contacted me and wanted to sell the company back to me. And while I was not looking to do that, they made me a pretty attractive offer, and I did buy it back from the investment group,” said Wise.
In 2013, Bri-Mar and BWise Trailers came together under the BWise Manufacturing name selling two different standards of trailers: Bri-Mar – the basic level trailer – and BWise – a higher-end product. While the features and finishes of each differ, the quality, durability and value of the products are consistent.
In 2014, BWise Manufacturing brought both operations together in a single facility that boasts over 400,000 square feet of space, state-of-the-art equipment such as lasers, press brakes, computer numerical control (CNC) machining equipment and nearly one hundred highly-trained and skilled employees.
The $9.5 million investment in the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania facility represented the company’s commitment to both the company and the community it calls home. The next several years were spent improving operational efficiencies, including the addition of a $3.5 million automated powder coat system that is one of a kind in the United States.
“In 2017, we installed a new automated paint line which is a major expense for us, but it will give us the ability to build fifty to sixty trailers a day or in one shift, and we’re not there right now. Depending on what models we’re running, we’re anywhere from twenty to thirty trailers a day, so we have a lot of capacity,” Wise noted.
One of BWise Manufacturing’s greatest differentiators is its ability to manufacture many of its components and parts in-house, allowing it to control quality at every stage of the manufacturing process. “We manufacture everything from small 3,000-pound GVWR utility trailers to 26,000-pound GVWR equipment trailers,” explained Dave McKee, vice president of sales and marketing. While the company’s core product category is dump trailers, it has diverse range which includes tilt trailers, car haulers, utility trailers and dump inserts. It also has refurbishment and customization options.
“We build a whole series of dump trailers from single-axle dump trailers that homeowners might use to heavier commercial trailers that landscapers and construction companies might use. We also manufacture the ultimate dump trailer which is our premier trailer for landscapers, light construction and commercial. That trailer is available in a couple of different sizes,” said McKee. This trailer with its sixteen-foot dump bed is quite popular.
“The trailer comes standard with a lot of features that you can’t even get as options on most other brands,” McKee added. These include hydraulic tongue jacks, onboard battery chargers, wireless remote-control and a premium tire and aluminum wheel package.
“The sides on the trailer are forty-eight inches tall, where most others are twenty inches or so. The top twenty inches fold down, so you can access the trailer conveniently. The rear gate is a ramp gate combination that is hydraulically powered, where, with a push of a button, you can lower the gate hydraulically so that you can load a piece of equipment. Or you can raise the gate, so you can dump material instead of having to operate it manually,” explained McKee. “The ultimate dump trailer has all the features that anyone could ever want in a trailer.”
From spring-loaded tarpaulin kits that improve ease of use to trailer floors with no welds or joints, the all-steel construction of BWise Manufacturing’s products is second to none. This exceptional product quality and innovation is demonstrated in its highly-anticipated ultimate combination trailer and multitasking trailers that have recently been launched under the BWise brand.
“The ultimate combo trailer serves the landscaper and light construction market, combining a dump trailer and enclosed trailer all in one.”
The multipurpose trailer to which McKee referred boasts a trailer chassis that can carry any number of beds from flatbeds and tilt beds to dump beds, roll-off dumpsters, leaf boxes, even job site boxes and storage boxes. “It’s part of our mission statement for the company to build trailers that are more innovative than our competitors,” explained McKee.
In 2015, the excellent value offered by BWise Manufacturing was recognized by National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), of which it is a member. The company was noted for having the best market share increase for open trailer manufacturers in the United States. In 2017, Wise became a board member of NATM.
“It’s nice to know that what you are doing is better than what the competition is doing. When somebody spends this kind of money for a product, we want it to be right for them, the way we feel it should be,” said Wise. Quality at this level requires skilled labor including welders, painters, assemblers and machinists. “We’re fortunate to have some good people working for us,” McKee acknowledged.
BWise Manufacturing not only does right by its customers, but it also does right by its employees, by offering good bonuses and benefit plans and a culture that reinforces quality and invention. The work culture at BWise Manufacturing has proven to be attractive to its employees, many of whom have been with the company for a long time, bringing invaluable expertise.
“We’re letting employees on the shop floor that do the job every day come to us if they have some suggestions on how we can do things better. It might just simply improve the flow; it might improve the quality of the product, or it might be a design change. We have three people in our engineering department that are constantly making changes, upgrades and improvements to our products, and we encourage them to bring it to our attention if we can address it,” explained Wise.
BWise Manufacturing is and will continue to be, a family-owned-and-operated entity, with the second generation of Wise family involved in the company and Brian still at the company’s helm.
The company has rather aggressive growth plans. “In 2018, we’re planning on a couple of robotic weld cells and some other automation that will help us. So the employees that we bring in can be somebody that we can train to run the programming side of that instead of the need for skilled labor that sits under a weld helmet all day welding,” said Wise.
BWise Manufacturing currently holds less than five percent of the open trailer market in the United States, allowing for a tremendous amount of growth potential. As it looks to grow beyond its existing dealer network and as it launches new products, growth could be massive.
“We’ve got the space. We’ve got the new paint line now in place. We’ve got a great core management team in place. We’ve got all the key elements in place. Now we just have to get out there and get the orders and get that distribution set up and have the people or the automation to be able to produce that. That’s where we’re heading, and we’re going to see much more growth in the next couple of years,” concluded Wise.
Stay tuned for what is to come because true to the BWise Manufacturing name, it is guaranteed to be good.