Family owned and operated since 1961, TIFCO Industries has maintained its ongoing commitment to Customers by providing them with personalized quality products and services to fulfill their industrial maintenance and repair operation needs.
TIFCO was founded by Richard & Dene Brown and has been passed down to their son, Robert “Bob” Brown, the current President and CEO. Their grandson, Chris Brown, joined the company six years ago and is in the process of learning every facet of the business from sales to internal operations. He will be ready to assume the reins of the company in the years to come. This assures TIFCO’s longstanding family ownership, which was and is important to the entire company. Richard Brown’s extensive sales background helped build a reputation for high quality in both sales and service, the foundation of the company’s path to success.
“We offer a very diverse line of high-quality products and build long-term Customer relationships through our ‘TIFCO Team,’ which includes a highly motivated professional sales force coupled with an experienced and committed internal support staff,” says Vice President, Operations, Aron Austin. “Our relationship with our Customers centers around their need for high quality products and services, because our Customers realize that cheaper products don’t last as long or perform as well, which increases equipment downtime. Our Customers also realize that we bring them innovative products to help them improve their bottom line.”
Most of Tifco’s sales and internal employees are not related to the Brown family, yet they feel like they’re a true part of the family. A testament to this is the fact that many have been employed with TIFCO for 25 or more years. This longevity not only brings loyalty to the company, but also a level of industry experience that is quite rare and extremely valuable in the MRO sales and distribution marketplace.
“Even though I’m not a member of the Brown family, I’ve worked for them for 42 years now. I’m a proud member of this company and a very staunch supporter of the family and the tradition of keeping it a family-owned business,” Austin says. “My father owned his own business, so I have a background of knowing and understanding what a family-owned business is like. That knowledge has certainly helped me in doing my part in keeping this family-owned business thriving.”
The Browns keep TIFCO focused on the many needs of its Customers by serving as a single-source stocking distributor of more than 45,000 quality maintenance and repair operation (MRO) products from over 600 quality American manufacturers and suppliers and also by shipping orders within 24 hours while maintaining a 99 percent fill rate on all stock orders. TIFCO believes in providing American-made products to its Customers whenever possible, not only because it believes in providing quality maintenance products, but also because this is the company’s way of supporting American jobs and the overall American economy.
While almost any business can benefit from TIFCO’s products, TIFCO’s primary markets include Manufacturing, OEM Equipment Manufacturers, Equipment Rental, Oil & Gas, Mining, Constructing, Machinery Production, Automotive, Agricultural, Food Production, Trucking and Transportation, Facilities Maintenance, and Government/Military. TIFCO stands behind and unconditionally guarantees every item in its product line while maintaining close ties with its suppliers in order to deliver the best possible product to its Customers.
While it started out as primarily a fastener expediter, TIFCO’s product line has grown and evolved with the needs of its Customers. Today, TIFCO’s product line includes hardware, transportation, safety, electrical, maintenance chemicals and paints, cutting tools and abrasives, hand and power tools, welding, lighting, pneumatic tube and pipe fittings, and hydraulic products. All TIFCO products can be stored in a vast offering of storage equipment including bins, trays, racks, and cabinets in order to build an organized maintenance system that is custom designed to meet each Customer’s evolving needs.
“We call this the ‘TIFCO Blue Wall.’ Keeping our Customers’ inventory at the appropriate stocked level at all times is just one of the value-added services that TIFCO offers its Customers. TIFCO’s hydraulic focus centers around its HydraTest® Products product line for testing pressure, flow and nitrogen charge in hydraulic circuits and also its KRIMPMASTER® Hose Assembly System, which is a matched system of hydraulic machines, hose, hose ends, and tooling that also has the flexibility to work with other OEM machines, hose, and hose ends. The focus is on universal application and ease of use. These product lines are prime examples of TIFCO growing with our Customers’ needs.”
TIFCO’s expansion into hydraulics began early in its company history when it became a distributor of hose, hose ends, hose assembly equipment, adapters, and quick disconnects. In 1998, TIFCO began training OEM technicians how to identify and measure American and Metric threaded products. During these training classes, technicians asked TIFCO to develop a single hydraulic pressure test kit that could test any brand of mobile hydraulic equipment, hoping they could reduce the need for multiple test kits for working on different OEM brands of equipment.
“We accepted the challenge to come up with a system to do what technicians had asked for; therefore, the HydraTest® Products product line was invented and has been manufactured exclusively by TIFCO from that day forward. We developed the HydraTest® pressure test kit that is capable of measuring the pressure of hydraulic fluid and complete all four types of pressure tests from one single kit, saving technicians space on their service trucks and saving time and money for our Customers. While the technicians’ needs had been met, Service Managers had issues about accountability. We etched each individual test tool in the kit with our part number and added both a picture and part number to the labels that are placed inside the compartmentalized case where everything is stored. It was and continues to be a very successful product because it satisfies a Customer need.”
TIFCO did not stop with pressure testing. Customers who saw the value in the pressure test kits asked the company to develop a similar product for measuring the flow from hydraulic pumps that move hydraulic fluid through the circuit of the same type of equipment. As a result, TIFCO developed and manufactured TIFFLO®, which includes meters, hoses, and specific test tools that are incorporated into a hydraulic circuit and measure not only flow, but also temperature and pressure at the same time.
Once again, Customers kept asking for more because of these two unique products. Accumulators are common to many hydraulic circuits and commonly use nitrogen gas as a charge inside a bladder, and the nitrogen pressure must be regulated based on the accumulator manufacturer specifications. Like hydraulic circuits, accumulators have different connection valves to charge or discharge the nitrogen and can require several kits. “Our Customers knew we had developed hydraulic pressure test kits and again asked us to develop the same type of system for charging and discharging nitrogen accumulators.” TIFCO’s NITROCHARGE® was the answer. TIFCO developed and manufactured these kits with the same logic: one kit to test all brands of nitrogen accumulators.
TIFCO’s latest development is NITROFLASH®, a system that generates high volumes of high-quality nitrogen and that is designed and built for industrial and military use. “Our system allows our Customers to instantly fill a cylinder with up to 2,200 psi of nitrogen in under two minutes. Our system meets the most stringent real-world requirements, yet is simple to install, requires low maintenance, and has a long operating life while being very cost effective,” says Austin.
“As exemplified in the company’s tagline, ‘The Right Part in the Right Place at the Right Time,’ our goal is to make sure our kits deliver exactly what we told Customers they would do,” says Austin. “In addition to testing all different types of equipment, we also want to keep providing customers with scheduled maintenance kits and specialized test tools for their kits. To that end we have established a Refurbishment Program that allows our Customers to return any of our kits to us for inspection, cleaning, and replacement of any missing test tools,” he explains.
“Our exclusive HydraTest® Products and KRIMPMASTER® Hose Assembly System product lines are part of what we refer to as Universal Hydraulic Solutions. These products, along with Universal Adapters & Quick Disconnects, are the most efficient, reliable, and cost-effective way to connect and test hydraulic circuits,” says Austin.
“It’s important to TIFCO that its salespeople are well trained since they’re required to provide a high level of service to their Customers,” he says. “That’s what our Customers expect, and it’s the reason that we conduct training classes for our sales professionals in specialized hydraulics and product application. We take it seriously internally as well; no one in our company is unwilling or unable to talk to our salespeople or our customers about any problem or question they have. We’re here to make their job easier.”
Even through past difficulties, particularly in the early and mid-80s due to a downturn in the oil business, TIFCO has endured and thrived. That “extremely difficult” time for many people and companies in the oil fields meant numerous companies going out of business, particularly those in the southwest United States; however, TIFCO managed to grow to the success it enjoys today. Partly because it was no stranger to hardship in its infancy, the company gives back to the community in numerous ways, including supporting local charities, supporting local blood drives, and supporting the United States Military by dispensing care packages overseas to deployed troops in the Military.
“Bob Brown tells us we don’t have to be the biggest, but we want to be the best. And being the best means we want to have a personal relationship with our Customers, first through our salespeople and then through our internal support staff. Whether that’s in customer service or any other department, we try to talk to them on a regular basis about their needs,” he says. “I talk to Customers every day, those calling with questions, needs, or issues. Finding out how we can help our Customers do their job more efficiently is one of our value-added services,” he says.
“A general downgrade in service across the broader industry has stemmed from the digital age,” says Austin. But TIFCO is a “throwback’ company,” meaning that even though the TIFCO team is as technologically advanced as their competitors, they still don’t want remove the personal touch. It is one of the primary advantages that sets them apart from the online retailers.
Austin refers to the three-legged stool as an analogy in referring to TIFCO’s Team. “If any of our three components – leadership, outside sales, or internal support – break, the entire stool collapses. It’s the type of situation where there’s genuine respect that is consistently demonstrated. The Brown family is loyal to us and we’re loyal to them. People don’t stay at a company that doesn’t respect what they do and reward them for what they do. There’s more than a financial reward that you get through your work, and it’s available to us here,” he shares.
“Our founder, Richard Brown, did not separate the company and the Customer. He did not separate the salespeople from the internal support staff. He considered TIFCO as a whole company, and he considered our Customers as part of the whole company. He once told me to deal with everyone with integrity, because without disciplined integrity, ‘there would be conflict instead of cooperation, self-interest instead of teamwork, and no common purpose in working for the benefit of the whole company and our Customers.’”
As TIFCO heads into the future, it will continue to stress providing quality products and services to Customers while fully embracing its past, present, and future through the continued leadership of the Brown Family, its professional sales force, and its internal support staff. “Our goal is to grow steadily at a pace the company can endure without losing our Family culture, our dedication to quality products and service, and our personal relationships with fellow employees and our Customers.” If history is any indication, TIFCO will do just that.