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Fiftieth Anniversary, Acquisitions Give Safco Plenty to Celebrate

For general manager Paul Griffiths and his team at Safco® Products (a WPF vendor partner), 2016 has been a year to celebrate and then some!

First off, there was the small matter of a 50th anniversary. Safco was founded in 1966, when Liberty Diversified Industries (now Liberty Diversified International, LDI) created the company to develop its wholesale corrugated packaging and storage business.

Initially, there was just one product: a storage box that came with nine compartments for housing tubes, roll files and similar items. But even back then, the company had a thirst for innovation and new product development and that single SKU was soon joined by flat files and other storage devices for the art and engineering market.

But they didn’t stop there. Safco’s research and development team began creating numerous patented products, such as waste/recycling receptacles, additional art and engineering products, storage solutions and seating that remain an important part of the company’s overall product line.

Fast forward to today and Safco now offers over 2,200 SKUs designed to meet the needs of today’s information worker across a broad spectrum of organization and comfort enhancing products.

And those products come backed by a fierce commitment to customer service excellence that has been a key component of the Safco DNA from Day One.

The company’s growth and ability to reinvent itself in response to changing market needs over the past 50 years give them a lot of reasons to celebrate. However, while the Safco team was looking back on an outstanding record of product innovation and service, it was putting in place new elements to insure the next 50 years will generate just as much good news about the company.

Two major acquisitions this year have given Safco access to important new resources in key areas and, says Griffiths, they have strengthened its ability to meet the rapidly changing needs of the workplace while maintaining its traditional service commitment.

In May, the company announced the acquisition of Focal Upright™, a leader in the Active Working movement, whose revolutionary leaning seats, standing desks and ergonomic accessories offered a perfect complement to Safco’s own standing and active seating products such as the Zenergy™ Ball Chair and Muv™ Desks.

Following the Focal Upright deal, Safco further expanded its own Active Working product line with the launch of the Safco Active™ Collection, an offering that brings together products that promote movement throughout the workday by standing, active sitting and perching.

With the acquisition of Focal Upright, Griffiths explains, Safco now has the ability to bring even healthier workplace products to market.

“First and foremost, the Focal Upright deal was about new product development in a strong growth category,” says Griffiths. “In addition to bringing some great products under the Safco umbrella, we also have been able to add the vision and expertise of Focal Upright founder Martin Keen and the company’s ergonomist, Josh Kerst, both of whom are continuing their journey with us.”

For Griffiths, the deal represents a genuine win-win for both companies. “Becoming part of Safco enables the Focal Upright team to leverage our scale, distribution and operational strengths, while we gain a proven pipeline of innovative products that we can continue to build on in the future,” he points out.

The ink was hardly dry on the Safco-Focal Upright deal, however, before news came of another and equally significant acquisition: Wisconsin-based Mayline® Company.

“Mayline was another very strategic acquisition for us,” says Griffiths. “Like Focal Upright, Mayline aligns very well with Safco’s strategic vision. They offer complementary product lines at very similar price points to our own and they’re also driven by a service-oriented culture.”

The deal, he adds, also gives Safco access to a strong U.S. manufacturing operation that will enhance its own assembly and sourcing activities and provides an expanded breadth of product that will make the company even more relevant to the dealers it serves.

Those dealers, including Workplace Furnishings members, represent another key component of Safco’s ambitious growth plans, says Griffiths, though he makes clear there are no plans to change the company’s traditional positioning with its dealer base.

“We know we’re not one of the big guys,” he says candidly. “We’ve found our niche by offering outstanding product with good quality and design and a strong service component at a mid to low price point. We’re very comfortable being a second manufacturer for a lot of our dealers and complementing rather than competing with the aligned manufacturer’s offering.”

And as for the WPF connection? “The WPF dealer network is huge for us right now,” says Griffiths. “We’re excited about the opportunity to bring WPF’s dealers an expanded offering of U.S.-based manufactured and sourced products and a proven new product pipeline, backed by customer service and support that’s second to none. We’re very proud of the relationship that we have built with WPF over the years and we’re looking forward to making it even stronger in the future.”
 

 

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If you own or run a dealership, you owe it to yourself and your company to find out how membership in WorkPlace Furnishings, Inc (WPF) can benefit your bottom line. Contact Greg Nemchick at 724-771-1452 or gnemchick@workplacefurn.com to discuss today.


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