Quality and Service Excellence Stands the Test of Time
The Checkers Safety Group designs and manufactures ground-based industrial safety products in its eight factories across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and sells through a distribution network to industrial markets of over 70 countries worldwide. We speak to Executive Vice President & Managing Director, Rene Vieveen about the company and what services it offers.
Established in 1987, Checkers Safety Group began with a simple vision that still rings true today, aiming to be a dynamic and growing organisation dedicated to saving lives and protecting assets by delivering innovative safety products.
During 2015 and 2016, the Checkers Safety Group acquired nine companies, making it one of the global market leaders in the design and manufacture of more than 200 specialised industrial safety products for the industrial, construction, power transmission, construction, mining, oil & gas, and general manufacturing industries as well as the commercial, entertainment, hospitality and facility management markets.
The company focuses on its main power brands, namely Notrax® industrial and commercial mats for professional use, TuffTrak® ground protection and temporary roadways, Linebacker® cable management systems and Monster™ Motion Safety traffic and vehicle safety products. The Terraplas® product line is a specialised stadium and arena turf protection system, used commonly in professional sports stadiums worldwide, including soccer, American football and Major League Baseball stadiums, to avoid damage to the grass during concerts or events.
For each of its power brands, there is a rich history and the legacy of an entrepreneur who met a customer need.
Notrax® has a wide range of ergonomic, anti-fatigue, and safety mats for industrial, commercial and food service environments, which is probably the largest in the world, as well as dust-control matting entrance matting. Superior Manufacturing Group, now known as Notrax®, was a modest manufacturing and repair shop for rubber entrance matting.
Linebacker®, focuses on cable management systems, cable ramps and hose bridges. Cable management systems are laid on the ground and cables are run through them so that “pedestrians and vehicles can go across streets and walk on them without being exposed to the cables” he says, as well as revealing that this type of product has been used in every Olympics event since around 1986. With known brands such as the Yellow Jacket®, billed as the ‘original’ cable protector, the Yellow Jacket Series is a favourite in the entertainment industry, and is known for its durable construction and high load capacity.
TuffTrak® concerns heavy duty outdoor temporary access roadways and platforms, in the form of heavy duty mats which protect the ground as well as flooring for special events. The Terraplas® product line is a specialised turf and artificial grass protection mat on soccer stadiums, with an aim of avoiding damage to the grass during concerts or events which is evident in Wembley Stadium. What started out as four companies, AlturnaMats, SVE Portable Roadway System, Zigma Ground Solutions and Terraplas have joined forces as part of the Checkers Safety Group under the TuffTrak® brand, becoming a leading manufacturer of the largest range of temporary roadways, ground protection and turf protection products.
Monster™ Motion Safety deals with products for vehicular and pedestrian traffic safety with the original range of wheel chocks, warning whips, beacon lights, and parking stops. Warning whips alert extremely large vehicles on a worksite that smaller vehicles are near. In regard to aeroplanes, Checkers is the only vendor for wheel chocks for the US presidential fleet, Air Force One. Checkers Industrial Safety Products was founded in 1987, by Steve Henry who focused his initial product line on large wheel chocks which he developed to hold or check (checkers) large haulage trucks in the mining industry. He developed a wheel chock for the first 60-tonne vehicles and today, Checkers manufactures products that could check a 400-tonne vehicle.
Superior Manufacturing Group Europe BV was established in 2000 as the gateway to Europe, Russia, Scandinavia and the Middle East and Africa. From our 8,000 square meter facilities in Barendrecht, The Netherlands, SMGE makes, finishes or customises all Notrax® products. With a large selection of products in stock and with its LEAN operations, as such the company is able to ship its orders within 24-hours for distribution around the world.
Innovative in its nature and never compromising on quality, the team and employees at the Checkers Safety Group work incredibly hard to achieve the overall mission of providing excellent solutions and products, as well as an outstanding service, as Rene points out.
“As one of the world’s largest integrated manufacturers, our commitment is to make quality products and to continue looking for innovative ways of serving our customers. This is reflected in the company mission to provide revolutionary product designs and visionary safety solutions that protect people, assets, and the environment. We are committed to operating transparently, being a responsible community leader, and ensuring growth opportunities for our employees.
“Essentially, the Group do not just manufacture products, but focus on customer problems and work together with them to create a product that would resolve the issue. Plus, if the firm do not have the perfect product, then our research and development team takes over with a new product design process. We are constantly developing products to address new issues that arise in the market.”
“Superior Manufacturing Group has been manufacturing Notrax® floor matting for industrial and commercial applications for 70 years. The
team’s vast experience has taught us that a superior quality product will stand the test of time. Therefore, we ensure our products manufactured of the highest quality material and workmanship. Our best-selling products continue to exceed the expectations of our customers and distributors by meeting specific quality criteria of durability, comfort and safety. Our most important criteria when developing a product remains to solve a problem.”
Possessing an ability to stand out amongst its competitors and differentiate itself from its competitors is crucial to the success of Checkers Safety Group. Rene is quick to praise the adaptability and versatility of the firm, particularly in regard to the ever evolving nature of the firm.
“Understanding and responding to the markets specific needs reflects our interest and pleasure in serving our distributors and their customers. We are constantly developing new products to meet the changing needs of the industry, and we focus on customer problems and working together with them to create solutions that resolve their issue. Our innovations team continues to design state-of-the-art products through intense research and development using new technologies, new design techniques and new ideas.
“As a global supplier with facilities in Europe and the United States, we constantly seek to reduce the environmental impact of our processes. Our manufacturing facilities are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified. The LEAN organisation of our operations also allows us to reduce our carbon footprint while providing faster and even better service to our customers.”
Furthermore, having alluded to the constant changes and advances which are arising in the industry, Rene goes into a bit more detail about how the company works within the fast paced market. Also, Rene highlights what techniques are employed in order to stay ahead of emerging developments, including keeping staff morale happy and making sure employees enjoy going to work.
“At the heart of our company are hardworking, loyal and knowledgeable people, passionate and to a certain extent slightly obsessed about our products, markets and customers. Through the acquisitions, the group has assimilated a vast amount of market knowledge and expertise of engineering and production processes for rubber and plastics including polyurethane, PVC, HDPE that has strengthened our core competency of manufacturing. This joint expertise combined with our research and development resources, and manufacturing capabilities represents what we believe to be one of our key competitive strengths.
“Moreover, our team is instrumental to everything that we do as a company, and they have been able to participate not only in the acquisition, but also in the seamless integration of businesses and aligning with the culture which has been very important to us.”
Moving forward, there are exciting times ahead for Checkers Safety Group, and Rene outlines the future plans that the firm has in place, commenting on how they will set up the company in the times ahead.
“In January 2018, Justrite Safety Group and Checkers Safety Group International merged the companies further expanding the portfolio of safety products. Justrite’s products include safety cabinets and large outdoor storage buildings, safety vessels and containers for laboratory and industrial applications, spill containment, safety showers and eye/face wash, and other products that all help industrial customers maintain safe practices. Long recognised as a vital part of environmental, health, and safety programs, Justrite products are available worldwide.
“As market leaders in our segments, we have similar mind-sets in how we approach the market of industrial safety supplies through a trusted distributor network. Our belief in strong customer and supplier relationships is the foundation of our business. We have joined a larger family of like-minded companies that strive for excellence in the safety industry.”
In due course, being part of a larger group of companies also allows for leveraging of resources and strategic investments. The focus is to drive improved profitability through automation of processes and services, optimise our products and improve manufacturing efficiencies. CEO and President of Justrite, Mark McElhinny had this to say on the merger.
“We believe that the wider basket of safety solutions, coupled with a stronger global footprint, will bring greater value to our distributor partners and customer base”
Ultimately, Checkers Safety Group’s complementary product ranges, allows it to capitalise on the synergy in markets, where it overlaps as well as explores the respective distribution channels to develop new markets. By joining forces, the firm will expand its knowledge base of materials and production techniques, and be able to apply these best practices across all of its manufacturing and logistics facilities. The economies of scale will allow the company to expand its product ranges, all whilst maintaining its high levels of service to its distributors.
Company: Checkers Safety Group Europe
Contact: Rene Vieveen
Address: Achterzeedijk 57, Barendrecht, 2992 SB, The Netherlands
Phone: +31 180 615 744