About Triple R Specialty  

“Life is not only about work.” That’s the impression you immediately get when you walk into the offices of Jacksonville, Fla., based Triple R Specialty and meet the people who run this extraordinary company. Step into the office of Richard Mummaw, one of the two principals, and you will see big game hanging from all four walls, a strong testament to this man’s passion for the outdoors and hunting. Step into the office of his partner,, Perry Havener, and you will see photo after photo of ball teams that Perry has either played for or has served as a referee. Both have backgrounds as competitive softball players although Perry defers to Richard as the better player. “He played major competitive softball for several national championship teams,” says Perry, “and even played for the Dodgers Double A Organization.” Both also are avid golfers. But don’t let that fool you. These two are serious about business. Triple R Specialty was started by three men, Richard, Robert and Ralph (Triple R), in 1986. They all worked in the fire protection industry and developed a new style roll groover, the G-2. This unit is still sold today, with minor changes from the original, as a Model G-2000 roll groover. Of the three original partners, however, only Richard remains with the company today. Perry joined Richard in 1995 by buying out the remaining partner, and today they are the sole owners. This was a perfect fit since he spent over ten years in the field as a licensed plumber. Matching his plumbing background with Richard’s fire protection, they have been able to develop products for both industries. Other key players in the company are Skip Iddings and Jeff Dean. Skip, who has been with the company for four years, has primary responsibility for the main assembly and oversees shipping the finished product. Jeff Dean, a six-year veteran of the company, is the sales manager and also oversees the in-house production studio for audio and visual presentations.

“Treat people as they ought to be treated”
To an outside observer, the key to this company’s success is their clear enjoyment of what they do. According to Perry, every member of the company is multiple- tasked. Perry handles marketing primarily but is also heavily involved in the Research and Development (R&D) of new products. Richard, who is also heavily involved in the R&D of new products, takes the helm in the design department and also tracks inventory and payables. Skip Iddings makes sure the products are assembled correctly, tested and shipped. It’s not unusual for an order to come in at 3 p.m. If the order department is busy, Perry or Richard may take the call, and if the shipping department is busy getting last minute orders out the door, they may be seen in the warehouse, with their shorts on, helping get the orders out. They have a UPS bar code printer inhouse which enables them to ship to all 50 states, Europe, Israel and the Caribbean on short notice, and they do so frequently. Each person in the company has his focus and area of expertise, yet all are involved in every segment of the business from time to time and enjoy having input in the total process from product development to delivery. Making a product they are proud of is important to these men but serving the customer is of primary importance. “We want to treat people the way they ought to be treated,” says Perry. “All companies have Show Specials when they exhibit at trade shows. We do too, but if someone we talked to at the show calls a month later and wants what he saw at the show, we typically honor that price. It’s one small example of putting your customers first.” The R&D process is a better example. Perry, Richard & Jeff all regularly attend trade shows. While at one of these and playing golf with Sam Garber of Samco Plumbing, it was mentioned that there was a need for a particular hydrostatic test pump. So the design team went to work on the challenge. This contractor needed a pump that could be used at any job, even one without power and could also be used as a transfer pump to fill stacks. No problem for the expert design guys at Triple R. Within several weeks they had a prototype ready for field testing. The contractor called back with a couple of recommendations and then placed an order for a number of units. The Tru-Test Hydrostatic Tester was born and is used by many contractors around the world. Developing new products is not the only advantage this company has over large competitors. Customization is a critical component of their success. Virtually every product this company sells is or can be customized to the end-users requirements. This includes everything from equipment set-up to the paint scheme. If the company wants a product, a trailer jetter for instance, to be painted in the colors of the buyer’s company; no problem for Triple R Specialty. Typically, a customer will make an inquiry to the counter person at his local supply house. Triple R Specialty Products are sold through all the major distributors such as Ferguson Enterprises, Hughes Supply, Barnett, Winnelson Supply, Hajoca and United Rental. The supply house counter sales people are primed to hand out Triple R Specialty’s phone number to any customer inquiring about one of the company’s products or requesting special equipment requirements. Triple R Specialty frequently gets calls from customers describing a problem that cannot be handled with equipment currently on the market or detailing how they need a particular piece of equipment set up to handle the projects they typically encounter. Once such a call is received, the team at Triple R Specialty goes to work determining how to customize its product to suit the customer’s needs. According to Perry, this is what sets the company apart from its competitors. “Customization of our products is not the exception; its the rule,“says Perry. “Every piece we ship, of course, has been tested, but more importantly, it is ready to use when it arrives on the customer’s doorstep. No assembly required.” A recent example of this was when the City of Fort Pierce, after being struck by a hurricane, called Triple R Specialty to request a special design for a jetter that the City desperately needed to get the City back on its feet. Triple R Specialty responded and was able to ship the jetters exactly to the City’s specifications in less than a week.

Expanding product line
The company’s first product, the roll groover, is still prominent in its product line-up. The product line has steadily expanded, however, with a line of jetters, introduced in 1995. All jetters have an industrial grade pump and engine at their core. They are carefully matched to make sure they do not have to be run at full throttle to give maximum performance. Perry believes they have had a lot of success with their jetter line because they are better, more well thought-out products than those available on the market today. They also offer the only hot water jetter available in the industry, a product developed at the behest of the meat packaging industry that needs hot water to properly clean the packing plants. They are also competitively priced for what is considered to be a superior product. “Most people” says Perry,“are accustomed to buying a jetter and, once it arrives, having to go find and purchase all the ancillary items needed to use the machinery. We don’t do that. When a jetter from Triple R Specialty arrives, it is ready to go. All the pieces are already there. This makes our jetters a much better value when you look at the total cost figure.” Triple R has been making hydrostatic test pumps since the early days of the company. They continue to make improvements and adding to the line, making them one of the largest test pump manufacturers in the world. The hydrostatic testing equipment is a crossover product utilized by the fire protection industry as well as the plumbing industry. They also offer a line of sewer inspection cameras and leak and pipe location equipment.

The Future
Asked where a company like Triple R Specialty faces challenges to profitability, Perry responds, “I suppose inventory control is one of the most important areas in that regard.” Triple R maintains a high volume inventory in their production facility allowing them to meet and exceed their goal of same day shipping. Inventory control is a key area for most businesses, and stock sitting on the shelves not only doesn’t make the company money but it actually costs money. This creates a balancing act for Richard, who is in charge of purchasing, to keep only what is needed on the stock shelves. Other developments intrigue the team at Triple R Specialty. The web is not new to them. They have had a website for seven years and report that it is a “huge” element in their sales and marketing effort. They also foresee new opportunities to use the web more efficiently to market to the world. Perry, Richard and the rest of the team are excited about the future. They constantly are on the look out for new products they can develop and are encouraged by the steady aggressive growth they have experienced since the 9/11 tragedy. And all the while they enjoy every minute of it.