Osborn International: 125 Years of Value

Osborn celebrates 125 years of construction expertise and distributor support.

In 2012, Osborn celebrated its 125th year in business. The company got its start making horse and butcher block brushes in Cleveland, Ohio in 1887 and has since grown into an international supplier of surface treatment solutions and finishing tools.

Over the past 125 years, Osborn’s product offerings grew through several line expansions and additions from the few original product designs that John J. Osborn purchased when founding Osborn. Early in the company’s history, it began to make brushes for use in the foundry industry and for street cleaning. As national and industry needs changed, so did the company’s products.

Osborn grew within Northeast Ohio as well as establishing operations nationally, then internationally. Today Osborn serves diverse groups of customers and industries in more than 120 countries with operations in 15 countries.

Osborn's 120,000-square-foot distribution and manufacturing facility in Richmond, Indiana.One Osborn, One Team
Osborn rebranded itself in the spring of 2012 to unify its many divisions and communicate a focused approach to providing the markets that it serves with exceptional performance. Prior to rebranding, different divisions of the company were operating separately, and in many cases, duplicating efforts. With a philosophy of “one Osborn, one team,” all divisions are now one group.

Today, Osborn carries more than 10,000 standard products and more than 100,000 customized solutions in several categories, including welding, metal fabrication, automotive and maintenance as well as LoadRunners idler rollers. Osborn produces a full line of metal finishing brushes, maintenance brushes and brooms as well as sealants, lubricants, coatings and cleaners.

oday, Osborn carries more than 10,000 standard products and more than 100,000 customized solutions in several categories, including welding, metal fabrication, automotive and maintenance as well as LoadRunners idler rollers.Drawing on customer needs and technological innovation, Osborn created a full line of ATB (Advanced Technology Brushing) abrasive filament brushes that involve the engineering of abrasive nylon into flexible tools for today’s highly refined finishing processes. ATB products include wheel, disc, end and internal brushes and NovoFlex ball hones. This variety of products serves customers in the following markets: construction, welding, metal processing, manufacturing, pipeline/energy, maintenance and many others.

As Osborn’s new tag line, “Osborn. Finish. First.” communicates, the company extends its goals of exceptional performance into distributor programs and support, helping distributors finish first with contractors who choose Osborn products.

Commitment to Construction Distributor Partners
“At Osborn, we want to provide value to our distributors as well as our customers,” said Mark Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing at Osborn. “When we refreshed the Osborn brand, we also rekindled the commitment to our construction distributor partners and strive to provide them with the information and materials that they need in order to be successful.”

Osborn works with construction distributors in many ways to provide information, including on-site training sessions and product comparison materials such as
its recent brochure comparing Osborn’s Standard, Professional and Premium brush lines to aid in selecting the right brush for the right application, as well as market-specific product guides.

Osborn’s ATB (Advanced Technology Brushing) abrasive filament brushes engineer abrasive nylon into flexible tools for highly refined finishing processes.“We’re striving to help contractors have the right product for their needs, and working closely with our distributors is one of the best ways to accomplish that,” explained Johnson. “We recognize the ‘four Ps’ that distributors need for the best value are product
performance, programs, people and price. Osborn products offer the optimal performance for the right prices, but without the programs and knowledgeable, supported people in place, it won’t matter.”

Johnson also explained that Osborn’s global operations have a direct, positive effect on local and regional construction distributors.

“Our global footprint directly affects quality for all distributors carrying Osborn. When we’re manufacturing a product, we consider where in the world is the best place to manufacture the product and get it into the marketplace in the most cost-effective manner,” said Johnson. “That way end-users can have the right product for the right application at the right price. The price and availability directly affect a distributor anywhere in the world.”

Aggressive Strategy
In early 2013, Osborn launched an aggressive sales force growth strategy by adding 50 experienced industrial sales professionals to promote more coverage and improve market penetration to enable more effective and efficient growth for the company.

The 50 new additional experienced professionals throughout the U.S. are from JDF Associates, in the Northeastern and Southern regions, Surpless Dunn in the Midwestern region and Clark and Associates in the Western region. The blended sales force is led by Osborn’s veteran sales team leaders in new roles: Todd Reasonover, national director of sales; Brad Smith, northeast regional sales manager; Chris Lyons, southern regional sales manager; Gregg Hohlt, midwest regional sales manager; and Michael Fulcher, western regional sales manager.

“This investment in our distribution network further strengthens Osborn’s position in the market,” said Reasonover. “We are excited at the potential for growth and are confident that we will continue to deliver exceptional performance in everything we do.”

The new strategy reflects Osborn’s continued commitment to exceptional performance in all areas including product performance, technical support, customer service and distributor relationships.

Technical Support with Real-World Experience
Osborn’s dedication to distributor and customer support extends beyond a customer service department. The company’s team of technical service engineers is composed of two teams, one dedicated to support for brush products and the other for buff products.

“Our support team is composed of people with real-world experience in our customers’ fields,” said Bob Pinchot, director of technical services at Osborn. “Not only do they know Osborn products, they understand how they are being used and what they are being used to do.”

Osborn’s technical service engineers work with end-users as well as distributors to solve application problems and help with selecting the appropriate product for a variety of applications.

“Distributors have the same goal as Osborn — they want to fully support their customers,” Pinchot said. “We want to give them the advantage by offering value, quality, delivery and support for them and our shared customers.”

Pinchot explained that the technical service team receives most problem-solving inquiries through distributors and inside sales representatives.

“In one situation, a distributor contacted the technical service team about a customer who was having a deburring and finishing problem with the product that had been originally specified for the job. The problem was that our product was actually leaving too smooth of a finish when deburring, and the end-user wasn’t able to have a proper seal with a gasket,” Pinchot said. “A couple of our technical service engineers went out to the distributor to meet with them and the end-user about the problem. They were able to recommend switching from the nylon-filament ATB product to a stainless steel wire product that wouldn’t leave as fine of a finish, which solved the sealing failure the customer was experiencing.”

“This situation ended up producing a customized solution, which we are more than happy to design. Our service team is there to solve problems, whether it involves one of our products or not,” Pinchot continued. “Quality is our number one goal. We want to make a
quality product that is safe for customers to use, that distributors are proud to offer.”

Custom Solutions Provide End-User Value
“In every category, Osborn customizes a significant number of products,” Johnson said. “The ability to have the solution that customers need created specifically for them is part of the value we bring to the market. The people and technical support along with the products and prices are what create the Osborn advantage.”

Johnson reported that after the company’s rebranding and with its continued growth, Osborn is actively adding to its teams that work with distributors. “Putting those people in place are all a part of rekindling that commitment to excellent performance.”

The company plans to continue using its global resources and local support to work with construction distributors and create solutions that help contractors improve productivity.

“One of the future plans that I’m excited about is improving our online presence with a truly global website that incorporates a fresh, new look,” said Johnson. “This year we’ll continue to work within the framework of integrity, partnership and commitment to lean manufacturing practices that Osborn has set to provide solutions that give our partners and customers excellent performance.” CS

For more information, please visit Osborn’s website at