Tyler Pipe & Coupling was started in the midst of the Great Depression in the mid-1930s and has grown into the largest supplier of cast-iron soil pipe, fittings and couplings in the United States. Built on a platform of resilience and an openness to change, the Tyler, Texas-based company today features an iron foundry in Texas, a coupling and gasket manufacturing facility in Missouri and distribution centers in Northern and Southern California and Pennsylvania. Supply House Times recently spoke to Tyler executives Sterling Bowman and Greg Simmons on a variety of subjects, including quality control, customer service and environmental stewardship.
What has allowed Tyler to thrive over the years?
Sterling Bowman: Quality. Tyler Pipe has been manufacturing superior cast-iron soil pipe and fittings for generations. We’ve set the standard for the industry as a manufacturer for nearly a century.
How has Tyler’s relationship with the wholesale distribution channel evolved?
Sterling Bowman: The relationship with Tyler Pipe and the distribution channel is invaluable. Our distribution channel is our primary contact with the marketplace. We rely on the wholesale distribution channel to represent us in a responsible way that portrays the same values as we share at Tyler.
What advantages do your facilities in Texas and Missouri and distribution centers on each coast give you?
Sterling Bowman: It allows us to provide superior service. All our team members are willing to work together to deliver our products on a timely basis. Having multiple nationwide distribution points allows for quick responsiveness and the ability to fill backorders using our distribution centers across the country.
How important are quality control, safety and environmental stewardship to Tyler Pipe in the manufacturing process?
Greg Simmons: Quality is of major importance to all Tyler Pipe team members. The quality of the products we send to our customers defines who we are. Safety and environmental stewardship are equal to production at Tyler pipe. As a company we expect all our team members and all guests to be 100% compliant 100% of the time, no exceptions.
How does Tyler go above and beyond for its customers?
Sterling Bowman: Customer service is our chance to get to know and better understand our customers’ needs. The customer service team at Tyler averages 20 years of service each. Their longevity with Tyler makes for a stronger group that personally understands the customers’ needs.
What segments of the business are showing the greatest growth?
Sterling Bowman: Tyler has made a large investment in our engineering department. We also have hired technical managers who are responsible for educating engineers and architects about the importance of cast-iron storm and sanitary waste systems.
What makes Tyler Pipe an attractive workplace for your employees?
Greg Simmons: We try to stress we all come to work for the same reason and that is to make a living to support our families. Each team member, regardless of position, has a job to do every day and to be successful as a company we all need to do our jobs well. We also are very active in different areas of the communities where we live and work, and feel very strongly about always striving to be a good neighbor and an integral part of the surrounding communities.
If someone asked you to define what Tyler means, how would you respond?
Greg Simmons: Tyler Pipe is only a name. What it represents is the team members who work here and strive to make a product they can be extremely proud of.
Where do you see Tyler Pipe heading in the short-term and the long-term?
Sterling Bowman: In the short-term, we are headed in the right direction. We have tried to get the best representation from our reps, regional managers and distribution. We have increased the number of regional managers to make territories smaller and give them the ability to work closer with the distributors. In the long-term, our mission is for Tyler to remain the largest manufacturer of cast-iron pipe and to have the strongest relationships in the industry with distributors.
This article was originally titled “The test of time” in the July 2015 print edition of Supply House Times.