70,000 square feet of manufacturing space (18,000 of which was just built and opened this year). 180 employees. 60 countries distribute Saris racks across the globe. 42 years of local manufacturing, 27 of which under the Saris name. 1 global headquarters built right here in Madison, Wisconsin.
All these numbers boil down to one thing: A passionate, long-held commitment to American manufacturing.
Anyone who steps foot in this converted Civil War era farmhouse and chicken coop is reminded that our racks are made here, steps from where they stand. From the rhythmic sounds of our stamping machine steadily pressing and chiseling buckles and small steel parts to the short walk to the product line (safety glasses in hand!) to watching fast, yet precise hands assemble the final bike rack product for delivery - it's easy to see, touch and hear what "Made in the USA" truly means. For us, these steps – and the people who are a part of it - are real, tangible and it all happens right here under our roof.
For us, sharing our story that we have American made product is far more than a slogan or a catchy tag-line. It's part of our corporate DNA. We believe it means that our products are better, and are built to last a lifetime.
And in the fast-paced world of manufacturing, building our products in the USA is also important to how we do business. From specialty bike shops to bicycling enthusiasts heading out on their next adventure, crafting bike racks for cars here at home also influences how we can truly put all of our customers first.
Agility is our middle name.
Let's say a customer has a bigger than expected sales weekend and needs a fast replenishment of bike racks to meet the continued strong sales – they call in a panic, fear in their voice worried that they won't get the car racks when they need it. "No problem," says our sales guys. "We can start that order on our second shift tonight and should be able to load the truck starting tomorrow." We ask, "Is that soon enough for you?" Usually, this question is met by silence on the other end. You see our facility "build" schedule is run each morning, based on the orders that are placed the day before. A schedule we can easily adjust should the need arise.
With no "on the water" time (insider language for the shipments of needed parts arriving via overseas), we can provide our product to our customers when they want it. Seems simple.For us, it is. Our customers love it. We do too.
Being part of a strong regional economy.
At Saris, we have about 180 employees, working two shifts a day. We get approximately 82% of our materials within a radius of 120 miles of Madison. Given this, our economic footprint increases to include thousands of jobs within our regional economy. Our steel is sourced from locations in Wisconsin including Manitowoc, De-Pere and Pewaukee. Other materials come from small Midwestern towns like Hartford, WI; Michigan City, Ohio; Winona, MN. The products that sell all over the world support the jobs of other Midwestern families and other local economies throughout our region. We are extremely proud of this symbiotic relationship.
The 180 jobs at Saris support thousands of other jobs in this region.
Solving problems when cow pies hit the fan.
As with all things in life, sometimes stuff happens. Unexpectedly. Without warning. At the worst time. It's a painful truth when you're in the business of making things. But, because of our manufacturing process (see "agility" above), we can identify, isolate, solve and implement fixes at an impressively fast speed. There are no time change issues, language barriers, nor shipping time to contend with. Removing all these frustrating, yet over-comable obstacles means that we can focus and work with our partners to create the best fix in the shortest amount of time.
There's no "I" in Team.
From the early product sketches to its final, physical manifestation, it takes each and every one of the 180 employees to create, crate and deliver a Saris Cycling Group product to your local bike shop. When we say our products are made for cyclists, by cyclists – we mean it.
We'll leave you with this antidote. Recently, one of our employees recounted a story about seeing a pink Bones rack on a car in the Madison area. She pointed it out to her daughter and exclaimed, "I think I built that rack!" Her daughter couldn't believe it, and was impressed. This excitement at seeing a product we made, here, under our expanded roof is a feeling of pride shared by so many of our employees.
This story, and so many others like it, is just one of the many reasons why we commit year after year, decade after decade to USA manufacturing. It was a commitment Chris and Sara Fortune had when they bought Graber Products in 1989, a commitment that's not going anywhere.
We'd love to share this part of our world with you. If you are ever in the Madison area and are interested in watching this process in action, please reach out to Sarah Reiter, our rack product manager at email@example.com and we will happily give you a tour.