Q&A with Curtis Criswell

Director of Operations | United Tool Supply

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What do you do with United Tool Supply?
As director of operations, I am involved in virtually every aspect of the business. This includes sales, marketing, production management, and most importantly, customer relations. We have an excellent crew that I can count on to make my job look easy.

What’s a typical day like for you at United Tool Supply?
With such a dynamic role, no two days are alike. A typical day is spending a few hours on the manufacturing floor to set a daily game plan for production, checking the pulse on in-process orders, and quality inspections on finished products before they are shipped to our customers. Being a lean, family-owned business, it is critical to stay deeply involved in all aspects of our manufacturing and product life cycle.

What new products are you offering your customers?
We have released three new products consisting of two new product lines since 2014. We have committed ourselves to continuing to innovate our product lines and serve the needs of the market that have been ignored for decades.

We expanded our Unite-A-Matic PD Inspection Gauge series to now include a flexible bench-top unit to inspect small internal splines ranging from 20mm to 75mm. This Model 2020 was revealed at the 2017 Gear Expo in Columbus, Ohio, and has been well received, with multiple units already built and shipped and on the floors of OEM automotive companies, including The Big Three.

Our new product lines include our Surf-A-Matic surface finish inspection gauge and our Roll-A- Matic PD runout gauge, also known as a double flank roll tester, among others.
Our Surf-A-Matic is a flexible surface finish inspection fixture to inspect gear face, bores, journals, and an available model to inspect gear teeth. The simple-to-use, universal design features interchangeable tooling and a reliable, consistent method to inspect surface finish without having to worry about breaking a stylus, adjusting a height stand, or incorrectly seating a part in a stand-alone locating fixture.

The Roll-A-Matic, our newest product line released in 2018, with a servo-driven model to be on display at the 2019 Motion + Power Expo in Detroit, lends the same reliability customers have come to love about the Unite-A-Matic over the last three decades. This gauge is designed to inspect PD runout and used to sort gears for knicks and burrs. We developed this product to incorporate a flexible design and the ability to use customer’s existing masters.

How are you letting your potential and established customers know about the new products being offered?
The key is getting the information in front of our customers. The most effective method for us has been exhibiting at the recent Gear Expo shows. Be on the lookout for new products and updates on the exhibitor floor at the newly announced 2019 Motion + Power Expo in Detroit.

While we make mention of new products to customers, there is no substitute for seeing the product work right in front of your eyes. We supplement with advertising in gearing industry publications, like Gear Solutions, and hit the road often to meet with customers and prospects to discuss our new and established products alike.

What are some of United Tool Supply’s proudest achievements since Gear Solutions last talked with you?
United Tool Supply has undergone quite the transformation since 2015 when Gear Solutions featured us in a company profile. The company profile highlighted the achievements of our founder, Rusty, and shed light on what to expect from Jeff, who is our current president and second-generation owner. Together we have dedicated ourselves to grow United Tool Supply with a commitment of excellence to our customers and continuing to innovate our product lines. We are proud to say in less than four years’ time, we have doubled our work force and tripled our sales.

As United Tool Supply continues to grow, where do you see the company in the next 10 years and its place in the gear industry?
I envision United Tool Supply becoming the most dominant market leader known for building the best products money can buy, with service and support to back it up.
We aren’t out to reinvent the wheel, but we are striving to make it better than any of our competitors. The company has cut its teeth in the automotive industry since the ’80s. Over the years, we have expanded into agriculture, aerospace, and marine industries.

We have recently expanded our sales and support footprint to include the Mexico and Canadian markets. Having a hold on the North American market, we are aggressively expanding to the South American and European markets through strategic partnerships.
Along the way we are actively seeking businesses to acquire to achieve the tremendous business growth goals we have set for ourselves and to become established as an industry leader in the gear manufacturing gauging market place.