Earlier this year, Western unveiled its new Enforcer V-Plow, available in both stainless and powder-coated steel.
(Western Products photo)
Powered by decades of offering quality products, service and expertise, Milwaukee, Wis.-based Western Products, a manufacturer of snow and ice control equipment, is looking forward to a promising year in business. Known for its full line of contractor grade snowplows for commercial and personal use, as well as light municipal snow removal operations, the company also offers a variety of spreaders, accessories and parts.
"Our customers work in a dynamic environment and need products that will provide the best results. We've built a strong reputation on quality and efficiency, and our customers expect that from us," said Andrew McArdle, director of marketing. "The biggest challenge in our industry is Mother Nature. No one knows with certainty where or when it will snow or how much will fall. It's that uncertainty that makes our industry so exciting."
He added, "It also requires us to be flexible and drives our dedication to employing the best people and continuously improving our processes to ensure we can supply our customers with the snow and ice equipment they need, when they need it."
The pandemic created another layer of uncertainty for the business and its distribution network, as well as end customers.
"Western has risen to the challenge and, as we enter the winter season, we are confident that our equipment owners and distribution partners also have adapted their operations," McArdle said. "Mother Nature won't be slowed down by a pandemic — and we need to be ready."
Western Welding and Manufacturing was founded in 1943 in Milwaukee, and rebranded in 1950 to Western Products when it was purchased by Doug Seaman. In 1977, Seaman went on to form Douglas Dynamics, which became the parent company of Western Products. With an initial focus on custom welding jobs for large manufacturers, Western eventually transitioned to manufacturing snow and ice removal equipment.
Today, Douglas Dynamics employs roughly 1,700 people across its corporate headquarters located in Milwaukee and additional facilities in Rockland, Maine, and Madison Heights, Mich. Between the three facilities, there is more than 500,000 sq. ft. of dedicated space where products are manufactured following its proprietary Douglas Dynamics Management System (DDMS) to ensure continuous improvement and adoption of new technologies. The majority of snow and ice control products are covered by a 2-year limited warranty.
To ensure Western's products continue to operate as designed and built, using genuine parts for needed repairs and service is vital. Its independent dealer network has access to its complete spare parts and accessory catalog. Western has spare parts lists easily accessible on its website so equipment owners can work with their local dealer to get the right part and have it quickly installed. For dealers and staff, the company offers a variety of training opportunities, including in-person training, webinars, videos and clear service documentation accessible 24/7 by dealer partners.
Western maintains a close relationship with industry associations, like Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) and Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA), that provide high-quality training and education sessions.
"We support these sessions financially as well as by providing expertise from our internal industry experts," said McArdle.
Well known with snow and ice professionals across the snow belt in the western and midwestern parts of the country, Western Products is an industry-leader in snow and ice control products, including plows, hopper spreaders and tailgate spreaders for trucks and non-truck vehicles. To complete the largest jobs, Western offers the Pile Driver pusher plow for skid steers, wheel loaders, tractors and backhoes that range from 8 to 16 ft. in width. It is equipped with an enhanced, heavy-duty blade design and has interchangeable attachment plates that offer the flexibility to quickly and easily attach the pushers to various pieces of equipment within a fleet. The 12-, 14- and 16-ft. models feature a floating end shoe design and floating attachment plates that smooth out bumps and keep the cutting-edge level on uneven surfaces to maintain a clean scrape.
"The product line has evolved over the years as snow and ice control contractors continue to focus on efficiency. They want faster, more specialized tools to service their customers' properties," said McArdle. This has led to different plow designs that can handle snow in different ways for more efficient removal. The vehicle selection continues to evolve to include skid and track loaders, wheel loaders, UTVs and tractors in handling plow equipment as contractors make use of more than just trucks.
"Contractors want to utilize equipment in multiple seasons, looking for versatility. New product development focuses on reliability and increasing productivity."
Earlier this year, Western unveiled its new Enforcer V-Plow, available in both stainless and powder-coated steel. These plows feature high-strength, low alloy steel that is ideal for half-ton trucks, according to the company. The compact nature of the plow and truck provide a suitable solution for cleaning up smaller jobs and spaces.
The company also announced two new Striker stainless steel hopper spreaders purpose-built for half-ton trucks and UTVs which offer the same durability and performance as the larger models, yet sized down for light-duty applications and smaller spaces.
Newly introduced to Western's product offerings are the UltraMount 2 attachment kits for tractors that cater to the demand for non-truck mounted snowplow applications. The kits allow operators to attach blades and plows to tractors with increased efficiency and versatility.
To ensure the quality and workmanship that its independent distribution network and equipment owners expect, Western controls as much of the manufacturing process as possible.
"We continue to look at new manufacturing technologies that will allow us to better serve the product and service needs of our core customers and distribution partners," said McArdle. "Western is dedicated to its people and succeeds by nurturing a culture that strives towards operational excellence, produces superior service and the highest quality products."
Western has received several accolades, including Top Workplace for 11 consecutive years by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and was awarded a four-year national cooperative contract from government agency Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) in 2018. Members of Sourcewell, which is the largest government purchasing cooperative of its kind in the country, benefit from discounted pricing for Western's snow and ice handling equipment and supplies. The company also is an NTEA MVP member (The Association for the Work Truck Industry Member Verification Program) which recognizes eligible companies in the work-truck industry for outstanding business practices and successful implementation of quality standards. Western partners with the industry's leading independent network of dealers, distributors and truck upfitters.
"The outlook for the future is strong as Western continues to offer products that make our snow and ice professionals more efficient," McArdle said. "Handling a snow event and the large employee base needed to execute service levels is a large undertaking — Western has made a name for itself by supplying snow and ice control attachments that are reliable and perform when needed. We continue to look for new ways to help make our snow and ice professionals more efficient and effective." CEG