Blessed be the ties that bind a building together. Simpson Strong-Tie (SST) manufactures steel connectors for wood, concrete, and masonry that support buildings. The company's reinforcement products include anchors, angles, bases, caps, connectors, fasteners, and hangers; it also offers prefabricated shearwalls, powder-actuated tools, and adhesives. The Home Depot is its largest customer. SST is the operating subsidiary of Simpson Manufacturing. It serves customers in the commercial and residential construction, furniture, and do-it-yourself (DIY) markets. The company has manufacturing and warehouse operations in North America, Europe, and the Asia/Pacific region; it markets its products through distributors.
Branded products include Strong-Tie (structural connectors), Strong-Wall (prefabricated shearwalls, which are walls composed of braced panels), Quick Drive (auto-feed screw driving systems), and Anchor Systems (anchors and fasteners for concrete and masonry). Additionally, Simpson Strong-Tie is developing construction adhesives that are suitable for commercial and industrial construction (rather than just residential). Given the company's fasteners and connectors are designed to be resistant to seismic, wind, and other forces, SST sponsors seminars to inform architects, engineers, contractors, and building inspectors on the installation of its products, as well as to promote the use of its products.
SST has long-range plans for itself that include strengthening its operations in the US and securing a greater international market share, especially in China and Australia. To reduce its dependence on a dismal and uncertain US housing market, SST has been thinking outside the house by expanding its product lines for non-housing markets that require structural solutions; it is also thinking outside the neighborhood by seeking global opportunities. To that end, SST has 18 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia (especially China). The company's plan is to get manufacturing and warehouse facilities closer in geographic proximity to its customers for faster delivery and service.
The company recognizes that different regions have different construction requirements. For example, the majority of construction in Asia/Pacific is not wood-related, so SST markets its Anchor Systems in that region and has subsequently experienced heightened sales. Different regions also experience varied weather patterns -- some plagued by more natural disasters than others -- that drive the use of structural construction products. The 2010 earthquakes off the coasts of Chile and Haiti, and the 2011 earthquake, subsequent tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Sendai, Japan, compounded by hurricanes and other natural disasters, have punctuated an industry trend to provide more structural support to buildings to protect their integrity -- SST is tapping these vulnerable markets.
SST is intent upon building its connector products business and is therefore jettisoning non-core assets. In mid-2010 it sold the assets and liabilities of Simpson Dura-Vent (venting systems for gas and wood burning appliances) to the Netherlands-based M&G Holding, a venting product manufacturer. Subsequent to the sale, SST reorganized its operations into three business segments: North America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. The segments basically distribute the same products through similar channels, only to different regions.
Though the company has fallen short of its long-term goal, it managed to post a 2010 net income double that of 2009. It also realized its first sales increase in five years -- 2010 revenues were more than 5% higher than 2009. The Midwestern and Northeastern regions of the US were the strongest growth generators for North America. – less