Volume 4 | Issue 2 | Year 2001

It goes without saying that safety in the workplace is a crucial and ongoing issue for everyone in corporate America, from top executives to the workers who make things happen “in the trenches.” It could be something as mundane as a bottle of aspirin or a first-aid kit. Or it could be as complicated as a protective suit or a respirator. If it in some small way provides for a safer working environment, there’s a very good chance that Conney Safety Products, based in Madison, Wis., has it in stock and ready to be shipped from its warehouse to the customer.

By way of background, Conney Safety Products is a distributor of thousands of safety and first-aid products for industrial and office use. The company, founded in 1946 primarily to serve the manufacturing and construction industries, does “some production of safety kits, but we are primarily a distributor,” explains Mark Gross, vice president of marketing. Conney occupies a 73,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art headquarters, assembly and distribution facility in Wisconsin’s state capital, where it has a total work force of close to 200 employees. All are dedicated to the company’s pledge of top service.

Indeed, what Conney officials want their existing clientele and potential customers to know right off the top is that “we have a high fill rate on orders, above 98 percent,” according to Gross. “That’s probably the best figure in the industry. In fact, we’re so confident that we can meet customers’ orders the first time that we’re changing our fill policy so that we won’t charge any freight on back-ordered products.”

Online on Tap
The company’s Web site, www.conney.com, is one of the ways it works to meet its clients’ needs. The site includes everything from an interactive feature that can be used to ask questions of its expert staff, to safety-related off-site links and published articles on safety. Those links include some of the top safety sites on the Web – everything from OSHA to ANSI. (The site is currently being upgraded to facilitate online product ordering.) Indeed, Conney also assists its business customers with OSHA compliance.

Other service features offered by the company include a 100 percent guarantee of satisfaction, guaranteed pricing and large-volume discounts. The company offers a quarterly buyers’ guide approaching 500 pages, and customers can receive a hard copy of it or access product listings online.

Conney markets a number of well-known name brands, including Advil® and Tylenol®. The safety and health-care products it assembles and sells under its own brand name include Conney Cold Packs, Conney Crusader Kits, Conney Eye Wash and Conney Flexible Fabric Strips. As far as general safety products, it offers everything from the Bright Star Standard Industrial Flashlight to the Conney Emergency Eye Wash Station and the Conney Lockout Station. For personal protection, the product range includes a variety of earplugs, as well as safety gloves and vests, harnesses, respirators, hard hats, safety glasses, ear muffs, coveralls and other safety eyewear including goggles.

Safety Standard
In the safety apparel category, Conney’s products all meet ANSI’s standards for high visibility and safety. That includes performance requirements for color, retroreflection and minimum areas of coverage, as well as “recommended configuration of the material,” according to Gross. “We’ve compiled everything our customers need to know about this new standard.”

Interestingly, the company has also taken advantage of this country’s raging sports mania in marketing its hard-hat offerings. Customers can order hard hats with a variety of NASCAR and National Football League logos.

Those who don’t think this is a growing and thriving business category should think again. Workplace safety needs and issues aren’t about to go away any time soon, certainly not as long as various government agencies, labor unions and workers themselves have anything to say about it.

Along those lines, Conney Safety Products is continually adding to its product line as new products come along and the business community demands them. One new product category is particularly noteworthy: automated external defibrulators, used to aid heart attack victims.

Indeed, safety is a key issue in all sectors of life. An increasing number of life-threatening situations have induced the airlines to install the defibulators on their aircraft and train flight crews to use them when heart-related emergencies arise. Many police patrol cars now carry them, and they’re being kept on hand in everything from movie theaters and department stores, to office and industrial complexes. It was a natural move for Conney to add this key piece of equipment to its product offerings.

New Products, New Growth
Other new offerings on Conney’s current product list include CPR Prompt Rescue and Practice Aids, Omron wrist blood- pressure monitors, Thermoscan® thermometers and Gerson® respirators. Also in the line are Kappler® encapsulating suits, as well as a line of anti-fatigue mats.

Besides continually adding to what it has to offer its clientele, Conney Safety Products also figures to grow through the acquisition and merger routes. The company is in the process of acquiring a Phoenix, Ariz.-based safety company; the acquisition was in the process of being finalized as this went to press.

Finally, “we are focusing our ongoing growth in those areas in which we have a major presence already,” Gross concludes. “Those areas have been the company’s lifeblood, not to mention the lifeblood of the U.S. economy in a much larger sense. Manufacturing and construction have long fueled this upward direction, and that’s where we’ll be when it comes to keeping people safe and healthy.”

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