The funding from VTP will be used to help prepare the company for the retirement of two key salespeople. STS has unique product offerings and a niche customer base, making finding qualified applicants within the state a challenge. STS will train 22 of its employees in areas of leadership development, growth planning, and principles of lean manufacturing. Through these trainings employees will receive the technical experience they need to help the company continue to grow.
“We are so grateful to have received the VTP grant. It has allowed us to cross-train within our current staff and helped us bridge the gap while we look for new hires,” said STS co-owner David Strom. “We were also able to contract with an outside vendor to help us implement a new style of lean manufacturing. Our whole staff here is very engaged and excited.”
Originally starting as a mom-and-pop shop, STS now sells its products across the world and has become the industry-standard for thin sawing equipment. It is built on the idea that although a thinner blade is more expensive, it pays for itself over time. There is less kerf, or fiber loss with each cut, creating a more efficient use of materials and cost-savings for companies. STS customers include household names like board game maker Milton Bradley and luxury guitar maker Martin Guitars.
“STS is a small Vermont company with an innovative product that is sold around the globe,” said Joan Goldstein, Department of Economic Development Commissioner. “We are proud to be able to provide grant funding for this growing small business to train its next generation of employees.”
In 2014, STS was named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2014 Vermont Exporter of the Year.