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Recipe for success
Innovative manufacturer provides a full suite of products from the source to the flame

he Harris Products Group, a Lincoln Electric company, designs, develops and manufactures cutting, brazing, welding and soldering equipment, consumables and gas distribution systems. Greg Doria, president, talks with FFJournal about the importance of providing customers with the expertise and support they need to stay safe and get the job done.


Is technology changing how you provide products and solutions to customers?


In the last several years, we’ve increased our focus on incorporating information technology into our products so customers can capture data that helps them manage costs and increase efficiency.

We recently introduced DataSMART, an automatic switchover manifold that monitors, collects and transmits important data regarding gas flow, usage and efficiency. Gas is a significant investment for fabricators, and DataSMART helps them manage costs.

We also offer single station and semiautomatic switchover manifolds. Many fabricators request custom manifolds specific to their application. As part of the custom work, we produce 3D renderings to help customers visualize the system and how it will work.

For customers involved with production hand-held brazing, we have developed the Perfect Flame torch system with internal software that allows customers to control flame chemistry and flow rates to deliver exact BTU values.


What are some of the biggest issues facing industry today?


We’re operating in a volatile time, made worse by the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Long lead times, high gas prices, issues finding containers and trucks—these are all factors affecting much of the U.S. Increasing inventory is an investment but it has allowed us to quickly respond to customer demand.

Another issue is the helium shortage, which is escalating now because of sanctions against Russia, a significant producer of helium. We’re reaching out to customers with our white paper on how to manage helium consumption through identifying inefficiencies and finding efficient solutions. Inflation has pressured our customers to focus on lowering their operating costs, and we’re helping many of them with our brazing audits, facility audits and advice on how to switch to alternative fuels that cost less.

Our customers are looking for products with longevity and quality components. Our inert gas regulators meet this need. Unlike manufacturers using lower-cost plastic composites, we use only high-quality industrial-grade materials such as brass, stainless steel, nickel, chrome and aluminum. With supply chain delays and rising expenses, it’s more important than ever to have durable, long-lasting products.

Greg Doria Headshot

How is Harris managing the shortage of quality employees?


Proper staffing is critical to meeting customer needs. We’ve been focusing on employee retention by looking more closely at job satisfaction in our workplace. When we have engaged employee-partners who take meaning from their work and understand that everything they do impacts our customers, we are more successful as a company.

We give our employees a clear career path and opportunities to improve their experience and compensation. Much of our employee base is eligible for a share of the company profits in the form of an annual bonus.

We’re also getting more creative about the way we recruit new employees. In some of our manufacturing facilities with hard-to-fill positions, we’re offering employee referral bonuses to encourage people to apply. We’re expanding our marketing efforts, using billboards, social media and other channels to get the word out about why Harris is a great place to work.

Robotics and mechanized automation are also a focus for us at Harris, and we’re making sizable investments in those areas. In 2021, we installed several new robotic arms and systems in multiple plants in order to improve productivity with the same consistency and high quality our customers have come to expect. Our parent company, Lincoln Electric, is also one of North America’s largest robotic integration companies and has been a key asset in helping us execute in this area.


How would you describe your relationship with your suppliers?


Critical. Harris maintains a very strong partnership with our global suppliers. We have collaborative relationships that allow Harris to meet cost, quality and delivery objectives. We work closely with them to develop standardized business practices, such as commodity strategies.

A great example of our supplier relationships was on display during the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, we shifted production of products to manufacture oxygen regulators and panels to meet the demand for field hospitals. We called on our suppliers to produce large quantities of raw materials and deliver them in days instead of weeks. Thanks to our employees and supplier partners, we were able to quickly provide gas distribution systems to several facilities.

The Harris Products Group
Mason, Ohio, 800/733-4043, harrisproductsgroup.com.