All-State Industries, Inc. of West Des Moines, Iowa is led by two brothers, Chief Executive Officer Scott Pulver and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Reed Pulver, and a strong and experienced management team. The firm was founded by their father Bob back in 1974.
As it has grown, All-State Industries realized forming a new partnership and investing in the business was integral to its future success. For All-State – one of the finest custom manufacturers of non-metallic components for many global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – the right partner was Blue Sage, a leading Austin, Texas-based private equity firm with an excess of $300 million in assets under management. Blue Sage, focused on small middle-market companies, was the ideal choice and a solid fit with their company culture and growth objectives.
“We felt our best option was to find a partner that wanted to support those growth efforts and support our management team, who wasn’t necessarily an operating partner but more so investing in people as much as in the business, and believe we found that in Blue Sage,” says Scott Pulver.
The company has five specialized manufacturing capabilities: engineered plastic machining, vacuum forming, industrial die-cutting/light assembly, open-cast urethane molding, and acoustic and thermal insulation product manufacturing. It is also investigating ways to develop certain manufacturing capabilities that it does not have in-house currently.
Accolades have flowed in for its outstanding quality, consistency, engineering support, and on-time delivery of non-metallic industrial products including bumpers, wear pads, floor mats, gaskets, grommets, mud flaps, seals, firewall insulation, manifolds, bearings, wipers, wheel well liners, door panels, and more, made using its varied processes.
“One of our core strategies over the years has been to supply more and more non-metallic products to our customer base,” says Pulver. “There has been a significant consolidation of supply base around the country in the industries we are in, so in an effort to grow and make the cut, we always try to cater to our customers and provide more products. That will continue to be a part of our growth strategy.” It believes partnering with appropriate companies through an acquisition or merger will also lead the business into the future.
This customer base includes big-name, blue-chip companies in the Class 7 and Class 8 trucking, construction equipment, mining equipment, agricultural equipment, utility vehicle, and recreational vehicle sectors.
One of its biggest assets is supplier codes, and obtaining one from a large OEM can be difficult. This often results in some businesses with very good capabilities being unable to participate in the market if the customer does not want to add suppliers. However, if these businesses partner with All-State, which already has these relationships, the companies can potentially get up to bat.
Approximately seventy-five percent of All-State’s staff of about 330 are involved in production. These include but are not limited to die-cut machine operators, assembly workers, plastic computer numerical control (CNC) machinists, urethane molders, and secondary operations personnel. The company employs outside and inside sales staff, accounting, human resources, and an in-house information technology department, which performs all internal software and coding of the company’s computer system.
It has the capabilities, experience, and machinery to handle a large variety of projects and works with customers at every stage of the manufacturing process. The company sees requests running the gamut from ‘I’ve already designed this. I already know exactly what I want. Quote me.’ to ‘I have a problem. Will you come look at it and tell me how to fix it?’ and everything in between.
“That’s how we’ve built our business: one part number at a time,” states Pulver of the company, which is highly responsive to feedback and suggestions from customers.
Not only does the company consult with clients on how to design methods to reduce tooling costs, but it also advises how to select the right material for the job. This can vary from molded urethane – a top-performing engineered elastomer with a range of hardness – to high-performance plastics, various rubber-related sheet and roll goods, foams, sponges, and fiber-related products.
It has die cutting and water jet cutting, lamination, CNC equipment for plastic fabrication (mills, lathes, routers, and saws), vacuum forming, screen printing and laser etching among its many capabilities. It also offers a host of value-added services like industrial sewing, riveting, ultrasonic welding, and gluing and laminating.
Along with its 130,000-square-foot headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, All-State has three other locations: Elk Grove Village, Illinois; Lewisville, Texas; and Elkhart, Indiana. The company’s headquarters in Iowa is strategically situated near I-80 and I-235, so products can be shipped east-west and north-south, giving a competitive advantage to the company and its customers.
All-State Industries meets the demands of the customer with outstanding service and solutions for all non-metallic manufacturing needs and appreciates the importance of doing business with trustworthy partners.
“When you do business with someone you trust, you are inclined to do more and more business with them,” says Pulver. “We continue to operate under those same parameters. We want our customers to trust us and believe we can provide them with high-quality products on time and at the right price. We are not going to rest on our laurels and on the status quo. We always want to do more and more things, ideally helping their lives get easier by doing more and more with fewer suppliers.”