“It adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to the bottom line,” said Torklift International General Manager Jay Taylor during a company meeting. “You’re worth it. We are serious about you and your growth at this company.”
According to a written release from Sumner, Wash.-based Torklift, two major issues affecting the state factored into the wage increase decision.
Following suit of the $15 minimum wage increase initiative set forth in Seattle for fast food workers, Torklift decided to review their wage program. Additionally with the legalization of marijuana going into effect in Washington, far fewer potential job candidates are able to pass a drug test during their interview screening, according to the company.
Torklift International said it has a drug-free policy and employees are subject to random drug tests. If a job candidate is unable to pass a drug test, they are not eligible for hire. During the past several months as more and more marijuana store fronts are opening, the fail rate of prospective new employees is 70%, making the new hiring wage increase “critical to being competitive in the job market.”
“We have to sell more, we have to develop new customers, we have to make new products,” Taylor explained to Torklift employees. “We have to believe in that. We have to build the best, always, because that’s exactly what you are. The best. So let’s make a commitment we are not going to live like we did yesterday. We are going to live for the future. This is the beginning of the investment of a new future this moment on. Each person coming into this team will be hand-picked by you.”
Coinciding the wage increase announcement, Taylor said that all employees in individual production units within the manufacturing division are now responsible for selecting future co-workers.
“It’s amazing what the company has done for us. We are going to include lead and supervisors in hiring,” he said. “You guys are in the trenches and you know what you need. The change is phenomenal and will help create a solid foundation and team core. It’s beneficial across the board. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”
Torklift International Owner and President Jack Kay was integral in the wage decision.
“When I agree to make that investment in you it’s because I believe in you,” Kay told employees. “Everyone of you. I believe that we can do what we did last month again.”
July 2014 was a record breaking sales month where the company exceeded its sales goal.
“Let’s not stop with that initial wage investment, he added. “That doesn’t take into account people who are already at $15 and $20 per hour. Those people need to be invested in as well. We have to grow our collective bottom line. Our raises, promotions and new equipment come from that bottom line. That’s not my responsibility, that’s now everyone’s responsibility. We will make those dollars by improving our efficiencies. To make it better we have stepped up and said we are going to invest in you as a person for your family for your future. You are Torklift. That’s your name. Wear it proud. We need your assistance in improvements. We all work extremely hard but we need to get smarter at what we’re doing. Congrats to everyone who’s been promoted.”
Torklift International, which manufactures towing and RV accessories, was named the top-ranked midsize company in 2013 in Washington State by Seattle Business Magazine. According to a report on the publication’s website, this was the first year that Torklift was in the 100 Best Companies rankings.
The Sumner-based firm’s product line consists of premium tie-downs, turnbuckles, tow hitches and other towing accessories, and Torklift has become a favorite of recreational vehicle enthusiasts, motorsports aficionados and just about anyone else who needs to move big loads down the road.
Seattle Magazine said that Torklift vaulted straight to the top with a list of benefits not typically found in blue-collar industries. The company pays 100% of an employee’s health insurance premium (and $2,500 toward each employee’s annual deductible), and it provides mandatory leadership and teamwork training for all new hires.
“We still focus on [health care] and make it a main driver of our benefit package,” said Torklift General Manager Jay Taylor. “We feel it’s that important, and that it’s worth the extra money to make sure that it enhances the quality of life for our employees.”
All Torklift employees are encouraged to provide input on any aspect of product development, marketing, even packaging. “Whenever a product is in development, opinions are taken from all,” Taylor says. “We involve everybody because it stimulates creative thinking and opens up new doors and career paths.”
The company’s commitment to collaboration from all levels was repeatedly echoed in anonymous employee surveys and clearly stands out as a hallmark of the firm. One employee captured the atmosphere at Torklift this way: “Love my company. Absolutely next to none.”
The Torklift International’s StableLoad suspension line will be featured on SPEED Channel’s Truck U next week. The demonstration will be aired Monday (Oct. 29) at 10 p.m., Eastern, as well as 1 a.m. and 10 a.m. Tuesday.
“Truck U hosts Bruno Massel and Matt Steele are installing the StableLoads onto a 2008 Chevrolet Duramax,” said Torklift International Vice President of Operations Jack Kay. “They wanted to show how easy the installation is.”
Truck U is a program geared around showing people how to install various aftermarket products.
“The hosts are also going to demonstrate how the truck drives with and without the StableLoads disengaged, and then show how easily they can be engaged, improving the trucks handling characteristics,” explained Torklift International General Manager Jay Taylor. “The hosts are going to either tow or haul a heavy load so the audience can see the difference.”
There are multiple applications available in the StableLoad suspension line covering a variety of vehicles. The StableLoad is known to dramatically improve handling and reduce truck sway by reactivating the truck’s factory suspension.
For more information, visit www.torklift.com or call (800) 246-8132.
Sumner, Wash.-based supplier Torklift International announced the hiring of Randy Fisher in the newly created position of national sales manager.
Fisher is a veteran to the recreational vehicle industry. He’s worked as the sales and finance manager at Southside RV in Tacoma, Wash., where he exceeded sales quotas by 40%, which translated to $400,000 in net profit for the dealership and improved closing ratios by 50%. Fisher was also the finance and marketing manager at Holiday Motorhomes and was a general sales manager for Family Fun RV in Fife, Wash., for several years.
During his career he’s reached several milestones including ranking among the top 10% in national sales, ranking third among 60 sales reps while employed at Pitney Bowes and consistently added new accounts and exceeded sales quotas by more than 100%.
“I have over 18 years of sales, management and marketing experience with inside and outside sales,” Fisher said in a press release. “Something I am very proud of is my ability to maintain and build strong sales teams and business relationships to meet and exceed goals. My focus is to help the team in any way I can.”
Fisher’s goals for 2013 include challenging Torklift International sales reps to continue growth on a daily basis and work toward driving sales. He’s working toward taking his current RV industry familiarity with the Torklift International products to become an expert on the entire product line and building profitable relationships with distributors, dealers and sales reps.
His educational background includes a communication degree from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Sumner, Wash.-based Torklift International revealed several new products this year including their Quick Disconnect StableLoad, RV GlowGuide Handrail and SuperHitch Everest Weight Distribution System.
“We are consistently seeking out opportunities to expand in new markets,” said Torklift Vice President Jack Kay in a press release. “Our roots began in truck camping but we have since expanded into manufacturing aftermarket products for all recreational vehicles, trucks and heavy-duty hauling.”
The Quick Disconnect StableLoad is a suspension upgrade that dramatically improves handling and reduces truck sway while hauling or towing anything from a truck camper to a toy hauler.
“Our customers explained to us they felt out of control when hauling heavy loads,” said Torklift General Manager Jay Taylor. “This product resolves that concern and makes the truck drive like a Cadillac, especially when heavily loaded.”
The Quick Disconnect StableLoad is designed for vehicles with lower overload springs with a 1/2-inch hole. Drilling is not required for installation and it engages and disengages in seconds while still attached to the leaf spring.
The RV GlowGuide Handrail is a safety upgrade for any motorhome, truck camper, toy hauler or fifth-wheel. A key feature about it is that the handrail extends the length of the step system allowing for anyone who might have trouble with their steps to safely enter and exit, Kay explained. It glows in the dark for up to 10 hours and doubles as a wash brush.
The largest product released this year is the SuperHitch Everest Weight Distribution System, boasting a tow rating of 20,000 pounds and a 2,000-pound tongue weight, said Taylor. It is capable of safely towing nearly anything and ensures your properly rated hitch will not fail.
Torklift International products carry a lifetime warranty and are made in the USA. For more information about Torklift International, visit www.torklift.com/rvbiz or call 888-908-0325.
La Grande, Ore.-based Northwood Manufacturing Inc. and Torklift International joined forces to produce the “ultimate back porch,” according to a press release.
The new Fox Landing, fabricated by Torklift, is engineered specifically for Arctic Fox truck campers and features an innovative, expansive entry platform that affixes on an even wider standard bumper.
It is equipped with four equal-height steps, including a mid-step between the extra-wide bumper and threshold. The steps conveniently fold up and out of the way in seconds.
The stairway can be installed to the left or right of the landing and folds up, out of the way, for travel or when hitching your boat or trailer. A convenient single pin locks secures the folded steps. Additionally, Glow Step Treads offer extra safety in low light situations.
Torklift International just took “glow power” to a whole new level by introducing a solution to step instability. Joining its lineup of glow in the dark scissor steps is the new “GlowGuide” handrail system. The GlowGuide’s three attachment points allow its user increased balance and security while navigating up and down their steps. The unique multi-purpose design doubles as a broom and a telescoping wash brush as well. It takes five minutes of light from any source (natural or synthetic) for the GlowGuide to “glow” for up to 10 hours. GlowGuides install with simple hand tools according to its instructions is simple and is available in a one-size-fits-all application. “Our goal in the development of the Glowguide handrail was primarily a response to requests for greater safety when entering and exiting RVs. Our incredibly secure three-point mount design achieves that,” said Jack Kay, vice president of Torklift International. Glow Guide is made in the U.S. of 100% aircraft-grade aluminum and high-impact, powder-coated stainless steel for maximum durability. Its patented twist lock design allows height adjustability in all types of terrain. In keeping with Torklift’s commitment to protecting the environment, the GlowGuide is made 100% of recyclable material and packaged in recycled material. The GlowGuide is lockable and utilizes the same lock technology as the Torklift Fastgun so users don’t have to carry an extra key. Glow Guide is designed to be stored inside or outside the camper when not in use. Weighing only five pounds, GlowGuide is easy to handle and like all other Torklift products, GlowGuide will be manufactured at Torklift’s Kent, Wash., factory. For more information visit http://www.torklift.com.