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/ Business of the Month / Simpson Electric Company
Business of the Month:
520 Simpson Avenue
Lac Du Flambeau, WI 54538
Phone: (715) 588-3311
We're delighted to share the following interview with Dean Zaumseil, CEO, Simpson Electric:
Simpson Electric has a rich history that involves Charles Lindbergh and the Apollo missions. Please share the history of Simpson Electric and your products.
Chartered in 1936, Simpson Electric produces analog/digital meters and test equipment. In addition, we offer circuit board assembly, cable assembly, lead assembly, shunt assembly, sand blasting, and screen printing.
Simpson Electric’s prominence in the panel and test instrument industry dates back to 1927, when our founder, Ray Simpson, built the indicating mechanism for the earth inductor compass that Charles Lindbergh relied upon when he flew “The Spirit of St. Louis” on the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Ray always had an affinity for the Lac du Flambeau area in Wisconsin and held a special interest in the Chippewa Indian residents. In 1946, Simpson purchased the old school in Lac du Flambeau and converted it into the Simpson Electric molding plant.
The 1960s saw Simpson Electric as part of the American space program by developing a special two-movement, cross-pointer instrument for the Apollo missions. The makers of the “Apollo 13” film, released in the summer of 1995, needed to replicate control rooms and training facility locations with historical accuracy. They contacted Simpson and obtained permission to use our products. Some controllers were shown in front of a panel with an ammeter, whose readings were critical for the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew, and this was displayed in close-ups.
How many staff do you employ?
Throughout the years, our staff members have always been an essential factor in our growth. As we expanded our business and the products that we developed, the need for a larger team was crucial. Between the two facilities that we currently manage, we have over 70 vital team members that contribute to the success of our operation. Within the manufacturing industry today, we continue to adapt to changing technology and demand. To maintain those changes, we focus on team member development and retention to ensure a successful, efficient, and enjoyable workplace. As Simpson Electric continues to grow, we strive to provide more employment opportunities within the Vilas County area.
What are the growth plans for the company?
In today’s manufacturing industry, we know that Simpson Electric is a leader in developing and producing electric meter products. As we continue to expand our manufacturing capabilities, we seek to engage other key opportunities where demand is high. Our plans to grow and enhance our current analog and digital products, setting us apart from our competitors, continues to be priority number one. We strive to ensure that our processes from building, stocking, and shipment are always as efficient as possible. At Simpson Electric, we understand the importance of logistics and how technology today factors into growing and maintaining positive relationships with those we do business with. We also continue to explore other manufacturing opportunities and partnerships to grow the Simpson Electric brand and bring exciting new economic opportunities to our community.
Is your product global and how many products do you produce in a day?
Simpson Electrics’ products serve a variety of markets and applications throughout the world. We have proven effective in industries like defense and aerospace, for example, working with government programs like NASA developing instruments for Apollo space missions. Simpson Electric products also influence many other market segments such as trades, telecommunications, energy, and transportation. Wherever there is a need for precision electrical measurement to measure signal changes, our products have proven to be a leader in the industry.
Our capabilities at producing our products have continued to improve as today’s technology improves as well. Currently, Simpson Electric produces up to, if not more than, over a thousand products and components per day while ensuring quality control at each stage of development.
Who are your competitors?
When viewing the meter industry, there is one main competitor to the analog meter that Simpson Electric produces. That competitor would be low-end digital meter manufacturers. While digital meters have their place in the industry, they may not be the best way of measuring changing electrical signals. This is because digital meters produce what is called a digit “flicker” which may result in misreading the scales. Our analog meters are capable of providing a more precise reading that may be essential to the functionality and application of a specific task. This reason alone, we view, sets us apart from our competitors and allows us to capitalize on the markets we sell to.
Why has Simpsons Electric been so successful?
Our team at Simpson Electric has focused on providing a quality product for our buyers. Our brand continues to show resilience by growing and adapting to the manufacturing industry that is today. The durability and craftsmanship reflected in our products show that we care about our customers and appreciate the business they provide to our company. At Simpson Electric, we want to make it well known that we always back our work and are a phone call away to any customer worldwide if there is ever an issue that arises. We also continue to instill the need for community by reinvesting into the business locally to ensure that our products remain 100% “Made in the USA.” Our main goal is to keep jobs local and improve our economic impact on the community right here in the Northwoods while providing a superior product.
Congratulations to Simpson Electric!
If you have a Vilas County business that you would like to nominate for a Business of the Month Award, please contact Kathy Schmitz, VCEDC Executive Director, at [email protected]
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