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While it may be hard to believe in today’s service-based economy, there still are manufacturers thriving on Long Island, N.Y. In Synco Chemical Corporation’s case, growth and success has persisted for three decades. What makes the 30th anniversary even more significant for the manufacturer of Super Lube synthetic greases and oils is the fact that the company has retained some of its original employees and has never had a layoff. Furthermore, the company’s founders – president Sal Randisi Sr. and his wife, treasurer Hilda Randisi – never once thought about moving the company from its 18,000-square-foot Bohemia, N.Y., headquarters to a lower operating cost geographical area. This is despite the fact that Synco is now marketing its products in more than 40 countries worldwide.
“The majority of our people have been with us for years. They have family on Long Island, and we would never think to ask them to uproot their lives,” stated Randisi.
That family attitude is what Juan Nuñez, Synco’s chief operating officer, cites as one of the major contributing factors to the company’s success.
“Synco has been a small family business since it started in 1980,” said Nuñez. “The fact that the owners are partners both in business and in life, and wonderful people, has created a feeling of family and camaraderie that permeates throughout the organization. Everyone is treated fairly; there is open communications at all levels and weekly meetings to exchange ideas. In return, Sal Sr. and Hilda have gained the loyalty and complete commitment from their employees.”
“We are a family business in every way,” said Randisi. “Our employees know they can always talk to us, give their opinion and we will listen. We encourage everyone to offer ideas and solutions. We believe it’s their company too and their opinions count.”
The company started with four people and now has 27 staff members, a few of whom have been with the company for as long as 28 years. The average tenure is more than seven years, and there has been very little turnover. The company’s staff mirrors the growing diversity of our nation, with several ethnicities represented. The glass ceiling is non-evident with women in many top managerial positions, from plant manager to supervisor of quality control.
Employee loyalty is not the only ingredient in Synco’s success formula. From the very beginning, the company was a product innovator. The teaming up of Sal Randisi Sr., a mechanical engineer, and Hilda Randisi, a pharmacist, resulted in the development of an innovative white gelled formula (
The Randisis patented the product and its proprietary PTFE element, Syncolon, and began marketing the product initially to the consumer boating market. Subsequently, a major telecommunications company recognized the product’s potential in a unique telecommunications application, giving birth to the second product in the Synco line. It was a user-friendly gel applied as a water sealant in aerial splice bags to eliminate the then common problem of cross-talk. With this major contract, Synco was launched to a new level and soon thereafter, more contracts started coming in from major corporations including a pioneer in fiber optic cables who awarded the company its first $1 million contract. With that 1981 contract, Synco leased additional space in its current location. In 1983, Synco branded its Super Lube product, began expanding into new vertical markets and purchased the entire building where it was previously leasing space. In 1984, Sal II, the Randisi’s son, joined the company as head of sales and helped expand into new markets. Two years later, a large international oil refinery began distributing Synco’s products in Italy, and soon after, the company’s products were in Japan and other Asian markets.
Fast forward to 2010 and we see Synco still in an expansion mode although it has contained its staff size by operating lean, efficiently and with leading-edge technologies.
“Our application of advanced technologies, both on the manufacturing line and on the business side has enabled us to work smarter, accurately and in adherence to the highest standards of quality and customer service,” said Nuñez.
Synco is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company, currently pursuing Ford Motor Company’s Q1 Preferred Quality Award certification. The company’s Super Lube grease and oil products are manufactured, and listed as “Food Grade”, with an H-1 rating, for incidental food contact by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) in compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifications. Super Lube products are also Kosher-certified by the Rabbinical Counsel of New England.
“Quality is our No. 1 priority here at Synco. It is inbred in all of us and required by our customers. It is evident across all areas of operation, from production and customer service to our R&D for the continuous improvement of our formulations,” stated Nuñez.
“We are always open to potential acquisitions or strategic alliances which enable us to continually evolve and fulfill broader market needs. While our industry and manufacturing, in general, has changed considerably over the past three decades – most notably with increased regulatory climate, the advancement of technologies and outsourcing – there are still some basic tenets that hold true. They are: you need a product that keeps pace with market conditions such as new regulations for environmental protection and consumer safety, can be produced with consistency and high quality, and can be offered at competitive price points. That’s ultimately what counts; that and a strong commitment to customer service,” said Randisi.
For Synco Chemical Corporation, manufacturing has been good. The company is producing an expansive line of high quality, multi-purpose synthetic lubricants and cleaners now being used in a wide range of markets, from food and beverage, marine and telecommunications, to building maintenance, public works and transportation. That may be in contrast to what’s happening in America, but Synco stands by manufacturing.
“A lot of young people coming out of college today may be discounting manufacturing as a career path because of all the doom and gloom news and the decline of manufacturing in some of the most visible industries, the auto industry, for instance,” said Nuñez. “However, I would say to them, don’t give up on manufacturing, engineering and some of the industries that built our nation. There may be more opportunity for them in manufacturing than on Wall Street today. We are an example of how manufacturing can thrive even through challenging economic periods.”
What’s ahead for Sal Sr. and Hilda Randisi? Well, they are still very much hands-on in the company they founded and, just like their employees are encouraged to do, they regularly offer suggestions to improve operations and help position the company for decades to come.