Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today Marie. For readers who may not be familiar with Ratermann, can you tell us a little more about the company, the role it plays in the industrial gases market, and how it got to where it is today?
Ratermann Manufacturing is the largest supplier of industrial and cryogenic equipment and supplies in the US, which we owe to our amazing customers. Ratermann has gotten to where it is today, by listening to our customers suggestions and truly understanding their requirements. We always strive to provide our customers with the best possible buying experience and provide the best possible technical support. We understand and appreciate that our customers depend on us and we put a tremendous amount of focus on ensuring we have the items they need, in stock. These items include, but aren’t limited to, cylinder ID products, labels, shrink wrap, hoses, valves, liquid cylinder accessories and repair products. Everyone in our organisation is committed to holding to true to our claims of: Reliable People, Reliable Solutions, Reliable Delivery.
Looking back over how the company has developed throughout the years, can you tell us about some of your standout moments, and why these are so significant to you?
I’m sure that depending on who you ask within our organisation, the answer to this question might be different, because we are always striving to improve, but from my perspective, some stand out moments would be developing our own line Ratermann of microbulk tanks. This was particularly exciting because our line of tanks was designed with valuable input from our customers. We spent a tremendous amount of time soliciting this input and our top and bottom fill, pressure building, vaporization and withdrawal rate capabilities, amongst others, are what our customers needed and requested. A few other stand-out moments were becoming Taylor Wharton’s Exclusive North American Distributor for DOT4L liquid cylinders and beverage carbonation products. Partnerships with manufacturers that are recognised as being of the highest quality are very important us. Taylor Wharton, Herose, Generant and Fiba are just a few that come immediately to mind, but there are many others, whose support has been so critical to our success. Our most recent exciting moment was the opening of our Ratermann Cryogenics warehouse in Houston, which houses a tremendous amount of inventory and also provides product training and will-call pick up to customers in the surrounding areas.
Why don’t you tell us about what Ratermann is currently focused on?
Ratermann is continually focused on providing reliable solutions and making certain that we provide a buying experience that is not only the best in our industry, but the best in any industry. We know that our customers rely on us to be much more than just a product provider, but a technical support and solutions provider. This year we launched our new e-commerce website that allows customers to learn about products and re-order their go-to products easily. The single most important focus for us is to continue to solicit feedback from customers and to be a partner that provides them with products, support and solutions that help them grow their businesses.
What trends have you experienced in the industrial gases market so far this year? What trends do you expect to see throughout the rest of the year?
Well, the good news is that for the first time in a long while, there is an upward trend in activity overall. Although certain sectors are slower to recover than others, the overwhelming majority of customers that I have spoken to seem to be very positive about growth opportunities for the remainder of this year and into next year. As it relates to us directly, our customers have been very excited about our new R-direct online ordering system, as this allows them to more easily order products form Ratermann and allows increased efficiency, which is very important to them since there are so many other daily demands that occupy their valuable time. I have also noticed many companies focusing on their branding and taking advantage of our custom-branded label options to market themselves and their capabilities. I think during Covid-19 companies really had to re-evaluate how they could reach potential customers by creating more exposure. I believe that will continue throughout the rest of the year.
Earlier this year, Ratermann launched its Women’s Roundtable. Could you perhaps tell us more about these meetings and how the idea came about?
Yes! The Women’s Roundtable started in February of 2021. Our meetings consist of women a part of gas distributorships across the country along with a few industry associations. Each month we meet over zoom and a guest speaker speaks to the group which we then take time to discuss and brainstorm ideas together after the speaker portion. The idea came about while talking with my sister, Mary, after hearing from several customers that they wanted a space for brainstorming and networking amongst women in our industry. It’s been a blast so far!
What is your favourite thing about these monthly meetings?
My favourite thing about these monthly meetings is the ideas and resources shared amongst the group. It is so wonderful to some of the women leaders in our industry every month and hear about the creative solutions they are providing. I learn so much from the members after each meeting and I am very grateful for it!
gasworld knows that Ratermann is very fond of industry events, something which unfortunately had to be put to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). Can you perhaps tell us which events you’re most looking forward to getting back to and why?
Ha-Ha, we do love our events! We are SO excited for the GAWDA annual convention in Colorado. The Nashville SMC was fantastic and so nice to be able to see our industry friends after so long. We are also thrilled to get more involved in the gasworld events.
What is it about industry events that is so significant to you?
Our industry is so special because of the love and care companies have for one another. Connections within our industry run deep, some throughout generations. I think the in-person events allow you to really get to hear what customers are looking for and on a personal level let you grow your friendships. There is also so much learning that is done during the conferences, it is fantastic!
What’s next for Ratermann?
Oh wow! We have quite a bit in store. Our focus is always customers experience and a fun culture for our employees who work hard and love what they do so you will be seeing more initiatives around continuing the growth for both customers and employees.