IFSJ Exclusive: The perfect fit with Performance Advantage Company

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Greg Young, Senior Administrative Vice President at Performance Advantage Company looks at choosing the right tool mounting solution

Performance Advantage Company (PAC) was born from the fire industry, for the fire industry. 30 years later both our product line and the markets we serve have expanded greatly. We now serve customers outside the fire market including law-enforcement, military, utility and more. Our overall approach is to provide the most robust system so that tools are organised and secured on mobile platforms.

As a manufacturer in the United States, we serve our customers through a large and ever-growing network. Our customers include truck manufacturers, loose equipment distributors and resellers, truck refurbishment and service centers as well as original equipment manufacturers. Our products are in use in over 30 countries and demand around the world continues to grow for our robust tool mounting systems. 

Our core values drive us to make products that allow the fire industry to do their job efficiently and reliably. We believe our brackets achieve those goals by securing and organising tools. The current market conditions of long lead-times and shortages have caused many people to cut back on spending or make do with what they have. This will persist for many years, so the impetus is to keep all your equipment running longer. The same is true for loose equipment, rescue tools, etc. Our brackets keep those tools secured, safe, ready to use, and not to be misplaced. Our mission is to maintain and build our product line to meet the needs of the changing industry.

Choosing the right tool mount

There are several considerations, many of which might be considered the most important. Some of those factors could be a better response time, better accountability of tools, and less misplacing or lost tools. Another factor may be the replacement cost of the tools themselves. Rescue tools, LED lights and fans can be very expensive, and they must be secured to avoid a potential shortage of funds. Money spent on tool mounting saves investment dollars over the long term. That money can then be used for training or new tools that come on the market.

Another consideration when purchasing tool mounts for a truck may be the safety of the vehicle’s occupants. Often emergency and rescue vehicles are involved in crashes due to the speed or poor visibility, etc. Unsecured tools can be liberated from the vehicle, causing injury, or death. Tools in an occupied cab must be secured in a positive locking mount, not just a friction type mount. This will always provide safety and security, not just in case of a crash.

When purchasing tool mounting it is important to consider if that tool mounting system will be robust enough, or heavy duty enough, for the weight load that will be put into it. This can vary by a large magnitude due to the wide variety of tools used in the marketplace.

Other applications

You can commonly find hand tools wall mounted in garages or storage sheds or barns. But those static locations are not subject to the same dynamic loading that occurs in mobile applications like vehicles or trailers. When we talk about tool mounting systems, we are talking about robust and secure solutions for large heavy equipment in industrial situations. This can be on garbage trucks, police pursuit vehicles, fire and police boats, and more. And tool mounting may not even be vertical on a wall.

There are other times where heavy equipment needs to be mounted horizontally, fixed to a floor. Sometimes it must be mounted at an angle because either the tool dimensions exceed the space dimensions, or the angled installation allows a more ergonomically safe position for removing and replacing the tool into the mounted position.

New solutions

There are several new products that I’m excited about. I feel like there’s a lot of excitement to be had all around. We manufacture several different bases that locate the tips of rescue equipment like spreaders and cutters. We recently made a new rectangular pocket part number 1081 and there has been a lot of excitement around it from the market. It’s available by itself or it comes included in kits for different tools.

This pocket, and its simplicity and extreme durability, allow us to locate some rescue equipment that we were unable to previously. It’s caused excitement amongst our customers as they have recognised they can replace a part that they were fabricating their own part from aluminium or plastic. They see our part and recognise that a more efficient approach is to purchase from us a better and more durable product, saving them time and money.

PAC got started by recognising that manufactures of fire trucks for example, custom fabricate mounting brackets for each truck. It’s a much better idea to just take a part off the shelf, for a specific purpose, and finish that truck much sooner – than it is to stop work on the truck to fabricate a custom piece. We have had several customers drawn to this new product to tell us that it’s very similar to something that they make for another purpose.

These conversations have grown into more opportunities for us to provide other pockets that we don’t currently manufacture. This is great news that we love to hear because if one manufacturer tells us they need it – there is probably a greater need in the market to investigate. But this is the nature of the tool mounting business – new equipment, tools, and fire hazards for that matter, are coming into view all the time.

Remaining versatile

We do some of the development ourselves, however, we don’t completely rely on our own experience when looking for tool storage opportunities. We use a combination of actively looking at new products, monitoring the market trends and actively working with our customers to find the new trends that are outside our current offerings. While our employees have many years of combined experience PAC has over 550 dealers around the world, including 25 outside the United States. That constitutes a lot of customer-facing people, including salespeople, engineers, and service technicians.

Not only do we seek out new trends, through publications or through trade shows, our customer network trusts us for new solutions that their customers are looking for and we surely welcome those challenges. Internally we pass all this information along to our engineering and purchasing teams. They develop the concepts that meet these challenges, but only when the product meets our strict values. This is how we remain versatile and adapt to new tool innovations.

Also, I would like to repeat that we are actively looking for international customers looking for an experienced vendor of highest quality tool mounting solutions. 

Complex challenges

We continue to receive client requests. Of course we welcome all opportunities to solve problems for our customers. One recent example of a noteworthy new client is a manufacturer of specialty law enforcement tools. They make breaching tools, tear gas guns, and tear gas delivery systems. The delivery systems are vehicle mounted, at the scene, but need to be stored and secured until needed. They are a manufacturer that makes incredible products and wants to sell the product with the perfect mount so they came to us for help.

The complexity in mounting their tools is the difference in diameter when comparing the handle to the working end of the tool. This offset presents challenges when trying to hold something 4” or more away from a surface. This added complexity concerning offsets was outside the experience of the tool manufacturer. In order to provide vehicle mounts with their very unique tools and equipment, they recognised they needed to come to PAC for help.

The future of tool mounting

Having already served the company for 11 years, I’ve come to better understand our strengths as well as our shortcomings. In my new position as Senior Administrative Vice President, I will be looking at all the areas of the business, ensuring we maintain positive growth. I will be working to make sure that we educate the market about how PAC excels in the tool mounting industry. I also can address our shortcomings in new ways.

Every organisation has opportunities to improve and innovate their processes. Our company is no different. For me this means that I will become involved in more areas that I had not previously. Examples of this include coordinating and overseeing an entirely new accounting and customer management system, digging deeper into financials and budgets, looking towards the future and our aligning our goals.

It also means leading and building our team to meet those goals. This means a stronger team with more responsibilities driven by clear goals and direction. With a stronger team structure, we will cast a wider net and accomplish more. For example, product development or vendor development – It’s done by our engineering and purchasing team now instead of just our engineer, for example. Other parallels to this example, of growing our teams, are found in our core areas like marketing, sales and customer service.

While I always like to keep my ideas close to the vest, there are so many things that excite me about the future. The first of which is to continue building and strengthening our fantastic team. Also, PAC will soon publish a catalogue for the marine market because PAC products are already on boats for fire, rescue, and law enforcement. There is a whole new category of tools for administering fire suppression in the EV (electric vehicle) segment. This may require new tool mounts make that we don’t offer. So that more people experience the benefits of our mounting systems PAC will continue to seek new international dealers and manufacturers.

I will also be looking at ways to allow us to communicate efficiently amongst this growing pool of customers. And finally, as we continue to experience growth, there must be a review of our emergency plans. It is so important that we be prepared and ready to handle the next pandemic, flood, or fire for example, so we can continue to provide our assistance to the life saving market that is fire and emergency.

This exclusive article was originally published in the June 2023 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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