CHICAGO, IL – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Illinois district office is pleased to name Bruce Gillilan as the Small Business Exporter of the Year. Bruce and other district award winners were honored at a ceremony on June 26th. These recipients competed among other small business entrepreneurs throughout the SBA’s Region V area, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Since its inception in 1946, Simmons Knife & Saw has supplied unique blades to businesses around the world. Simmons continues to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers by using the highest quality steel available, employing innovations in design and product development, and exhibiting extraordinary customer service.
With a long-standing tradition of producing quality products, Simmons brings plenty of value to the table as it strives to create partnerships with its customers. Under the leadership of President Bruce Gillilan, Simmons has always believed that it is at the forefront of the National Export Movement.
In addition to caring for existing domestic customers, Simmons boasts a company-wide devotion to its international business operations. Simmons’ staff can help resolve even the most complex problems regarding band saw machines and other cutting applications. Furthermore, several members of sales and production staff are bilingual, speaking a variety of languages such as Arabic, Dutch, French, Polish, and Spanish.
As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, Simmons follows strict procedures to ensure quality goes into everything it does, but the company still runs up against some tough competition in the worldwide marketplace. Although its production team is able to weld with some of the best in the world, Simmons recognized that the sharpness tolerances of its blades were not where they needed to be to actively compete in the world market. To remedy this, Simmons completed work on one of its newest innovative grinders. As a result, newly crafted CNC blades with sharpness tolerances that rival blades from OEM manufacturers are now being supplied worldwide.
This re-engineering of an existing product line caused others in the world market to take notice. Consequently, Simmons partnered with a distributor in New Zealand to develop a superior bread slicing band. Using specialized steel and exact cutting and welding techniques, that joint venture increased its business by 200%.
As part of a continuous effort to create a seamless business experience, Simmons is constantly revamping and reforming its internal processes, especially concerning its EXIM coverage and automated export documents. Simmons shows the flexibility needed to thrive in a global dynamic marketplace by going beyond the simple supplier/distributor relationship and building true partnerships as evidenced by successes with bread blades in New Zealand and infrastructure investments in China.
Simmons is a prime example of how small businesses can approach exporting using a strategic growth export plan. The company’s efforts have shown great results and are sure to pay off dividends for the next 5-10 years.