Serving From the Inside Out
Northern California POU business has a commitment to service that extends beyond its office walls
Before Casey Taylor become president of Waterlogic West, he worked for Taylor Made Water System, a family run business in Northern California started by Taylor, his father and brother in 1998. In 2012, the Taylors sold the business to Waterlogic, a point-of-use (POU) water purification provider that designs commercial and residential water dispensers for markets around the world. That year, Taylor Made Water Systems also purchased AquaPrix in Hayward, Calif., and AquaPerfect in Sacramento, Calif., and in 2013, all three companies merged to form Waterlogic West — a subsidiary of Waterlogic Plc.
Offering a Different Solution
Taylor’s early years in the POU industry were difficult as he tried to establish himself within a segment that did not seem to be very interested. “There was very little POU business in Northern California and our market was dominated by regional bottled water companies. Hardly anyone had heard of reverse osmosis, and very few would even consider a ‘bottle-less’ cooler,” Taylor said. “When [consumers] set up their offices, they signed up for bottle deliveries and didn’t necessarily want to think about it ever again.”
As consumers have become more aware of the benefits of POU water systems, the industry has matured and Waterlogic West has grown. “The market has changed so much. There is a lot of education about water in general, and now there is a lot of backlash against bottled water because of environmental factors,” Taylor said. “Now a lot of people have been exposed to point-of-use, whether it’s at work, at home or through things that are seen at Target and Home Depot.”
In addition to consumer education, Taylor said persistence also spurred growth. “In the beginning it was mostly persistence, believing in what we were doing and beating the streets to get in front of people,” he said.
Today, Waterlogic West is part of a business that is booming. According to the Waterlogic website, for the financial year ending Dec. 31, 2013, “the group generated revenues and adjusted EBITDA of $124 million and $19.5 million, respectively, and had approximately 750,000 machines installed both directly and with distributor partners.”
Some of the company’s flagship products and services include filtration of contaminants, chlorine and taste; Water Quality Assn.-certified Firewall ultraviolet (UV) technology, which guarantees 99.9999% pure water 100% of the time; and BioCote silver antimicrobial protection, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms.
Happy Employees, Happy Customers
One feature that stands out at Waterlogic West is the focus on employees, which has led to better service. “At Taylor Made, we created six corporate values — hard work, fun, teamwork, integrity, innovation and community. That culture has carried on to Waterlogic,” Taylor said. “We recognize that we all need to work hard and put in a quality effort, but we also need to consider that we spend more waking hours with our coworkers than we do with our families. If we’re not having fun at work, that will be reflected in our attitudes and work product.”
Whether it’s working on good communication and relationships, or planned activities like team building events, monthly birthday celebrations and ugly sweater contests, Waterlogic West has found a way to keep the work environment fun. Taylor said that giving employees the opportunity to enjoy one another’s company and see one another as human beings gives them something to look forward to and makes everyone’s job more enjoyable. “Then they’re happier at work and provide better customer service, and our customers are happy,” he said.
Serving Beyond the Office
Another value that Waterlogic West stands by is a commitment to service outside of the office. Before Waterlogic bought Taylor Made Water Systems, Taylor said his father always made service a part of his business. Taylor’s father created the Taylor Family Foundation in 1990, an organization to “preserve the wellness and enhance the quality of life for children in Northern California living with life-threatening and chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities and youth at-risk, through unique therapeutic experiences and support.”
The organization raises funds through its annual fundraiser to send these children to a one-week summer camp, where, according to Taylor, “They can spend time with children who are just like them and be ‘normal’ without having to deal with the stigma, pain and anguish that comes along with their conditions.” Although the foundation is not officially affiliated with Waterlogic, the company has provided support. Outside of employee attendance, Waterlogic also mans a booth at the fundraisers and provides financial support, and some of the company’s corporate officers take the time to visit the camp.
In addition to its support of the Taylor Family Foundation, Waterlogic Plc has partnered with WaterAid, a more-than-30-year-old nonprofit organization that provides water, sanitation and hygiene education in developing countries around the world. After an extensive search, Waterlogic selected WaterAid because it believed in the organization’s mission. The company has committed to a $225,000 donation to WaterAid between 2012 and 2014.
As Waterlogic West looks to continue growing, Taylor sees tremendous potential within the industry. “There is still a huge potential market for POU devices as we look to expand our offerings throughout the western United States,” he said. “Technology has made huge leaps over the last several years and we’re now able to provide our customers with POU solutions that can address just about any need they may have.”
With Waterlogic West’s aggressive growth plans, its focus will continue to be on those companies that prefer quality to price. “It’s my belief that nobody can make money by selling cheap coolers, and, in the long run, cheap coolers are not good for our customers,” he said. “It’s best for us and the customer if the product works, it works all the time, provides them clean, safe water, and always gives them what they are paying for.”
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