As part of its mission to celebrate organizations that push the foodservice equipment and supplies industry forward, the FEDA First Thing newsletter is publishing a series of Q&As with member companies. This week features T&S Brass and Bronze Works, a 74-year-old manufacturer of faucets, fittings, and specialty products for the foodservice and commercial plumbing markets.
Who is your customer base?
T&S customers include commercial and non-commercial foodservice operators of every kind: restaurants, schools, hotels, institutions, hospitals, stadiums, and more. We’re proud to provide the plumbing products that keep kitchens running, from the handwash sinks to the dish room and everywhere in between.
Our brands are sold through restaurant equipment dealers, distributors, fabricators, kitchen equipment suppliers and plumbing supply houses. T&S is the most widely specified product in the industry, so customers know that help is never far away no matter where their operation is. With a legendary customer service team and local reps in most major markets, our team makes your team look good.
How has T&S Brass set itself apart in the commercial plumbing market?
Our focus on water and energy conservation, as well as superior reliability, has made T&S a trusted name for some of the foodservice world’s leading brands. For more than 70 years, the engineering and product development teams of T&S have served the needs of the foodservice industry – from global QSR chains to small independent restaurants and some of the most recognized fine dining establishments around the world. The T&S name is synonymous with quality and the kind of durability that busy operations need to prevent water waste, downtime, and unnecessary expense.
T&S is also well-known for our world-class customer service. Call us or chat with us online and a real, knowledgeable person is on the other end of the line in a matter of seconds. It’s just one of many ways we continually differentiate ourselves from others.
How has the company innovated in recent years?
As the creator of the first pre-rinse unit, T&S Brass is built on a bedrock of innovation, which continues to this day. We listen to our customers and applying the best new technologies to solve unique issues in the field.
Some of our recent impactful innovations include T&S DuraPull, a pre-rinse unit featuring pull-down activation and stainless steel construction for the utmost in efficiency and durability, and T&S WaterWatch, a water monitoring device and software. A foodservice-industry first, T&S WaterWatch provides operators with detailed information on their water use, including detecting leaks, and supports enhanced sustainability and resource-saving measures.
How is your company making the best use of new technology, either in your products or in the way you work with distributors and reach operators?
The most recent example is our new ERP system, which unifies all the major systems the company uses. The move to a more advanced platform has allowed us to offer new features and services for our distribution partners, including self-service portals for placing orders and paying invoices, as well as a full-blown EDI solution.
T&S is also employing technological advances in our products, like T&S WaterWatch, which monitors water consumption, identifies leaks and protects facilities by alerting in case of catastrophic water failures – with all the information accessible on a mobile device or computer.
How is T&S Brass growing? (expansion of facilities, new products, new markets, increased sales staff, more digital presence, etc.)
T&S’ history is one of consistent growth from our start in a New York garage to our current presence around the globe. Over the past 20 years, we have opened a distribution and manufacturing facility in Shanghai, expanded our headquarters campus in South Carolina with more land and warehouse space, and introduced a new hands-on training facility. This growth continues today with our $10 million investment into a five-year expansion project that will add increased manufacturing space and enhance existing facilities.
We also continue to enhance our digital platform and online educational programs. And we have released a record number of new products this past year, concentrating on areas that will make a difference for our distribution partners.
What are some ways the foodservice plumbing market is changing? Are there new technologies emerging or designs and materials that are becoming more prominent?
Hands-free everything! One thing everyone in this industry knows is “Handwashing is not an option.” The push to increase hygiene is reaching into every corner of foodservice, right down to the hand sinks. While T&S has always manufactured the most reliable electronic sensor faucets to support safe, effective handwashing, COVID-19 forced all of us to look at those processes and increase our offerings and solutions for every foodservice operation. And we continue to innovate and offer effective mechanical faucets while also increasing our sensor faucet series.
How has T&S Brass adjusted to the challenges of COVID-19 and have those adjustments changed how you work with distributors?
T&S Brass’ long-time commitment to customer service helped us to pivot quickly to address the needs brought on by COVID-19, allowing us to ramp up the communication between our internal team and the teams of our dealers and distributors.
Early on there were communication gaps as our distributor community shifted to working remotely and long pauses in engagement until everyone caught up with online business tools. But we adapted to those changes and moved to support virtual-first engagement. We have increased our online resources and enhanced our library of training materials, expanded T&S University (TSU) courses, and expanded chat in our customer service channels.
In addition, when demand for sensor faucets to support hands-free washing skyrocketed, T&S ramped up our production and shipping processes to keep distributors supplied and ready to support their customers’ urgent requests.
What excites you about the future of our industry?
While no one expected or wanted a global pandemic, it has actually brought us all closer together and forced us to find new ways to create opportunities and conduct business. We see our distribution partners reinventing themselves on a daily basis to provide unique solutions to a marketplace that is rapidly challenging. For T&S and all our partners, we look forward to offering new and innovative products in order to meet the needs of the future and support our customers along the way.
Is there anything else FEDA members should know about your company?
T&S has always been committed to our distribution partners, and the relationship and trust you have in us has always been a cornerstone of our company’s philosophy. We understand that our distribution partners are not plumbers. That’s OK; you don’t have to be. Let us use our experience and expertise to show you how the Reliability in everything we do is Built In.