Meet Randy Kruse, the developer of the SimpleSider, a revolutionary product that helps reduce waste on construction projects.
Randy had met with several plastic injection molders and was rejected because he wasn’t one of the “big dogs." Finally, Randy discovered the experts at PM Mold and met with the product development team.
Within weeks PM Mold engineers developed the prototype mold.
The product was field tested and has since been used to train over 10,000 remodeling contractors.
The SimpleSlider is a success.
The concept of the SimpleSider was born in the summer of 2003, a boom time in home remodeling. Randy's family-run company had 45 employees, working in 20 crews, with three different languages. Every week Randy's crews were installing nearly 3,000 square feet of LP's SmartSide® trim and siding. In the home siding business, consistency and productivity are critical for success. If an installer is off by a 1/4" at the beginning of a siding project, it can translate into several hundred additional feet of siding by the end of a project.
A Production Standard Is Born!
Randy and Steve Kruse quickly saw a need to develop consistency in lap siding installations. They started to develop a sliding gauge that would ensure accuracy on their siding projects, regardless of language. The first prototypes were ready in the summer of 2003. Randy and Steve immediately saw improvements in consistency and efficiency. A new production standard was established.
Over the next ten years, the prototype of the siding gauge was used on over 1,000 home trim and siding projects. One thing Randy and Steve also noticed — there were no other tools on the market that helped contractors install siding on home remodeling projects with consistency. They set out to find a way to mass produce and market their invention.
First, they visited a small plastic molding shop in the area. They were told to come back when they had $50,000 to start the project. Next, they met with a large plastic molding company nearby. Again, they met with disappointment. They were told a product like this should be manufactured overseas.
Hope Fades for U.S. Production
Later that year Steve shared with some friends his disappointment about his inability to manufacture the siding gauge in the U.S. One of the men said not all U.S. manufacturers are frustrating. He introduced Randy and Steve to PM Mold, a local company in Schaumburg, Illinois. PM Mold offered design, engineering, tool making, production, and distribution all at one location.
Randy and Steve met with Tom White, vice president at PM Mold, and the PM Mold design team. Randy and Steve received a thorough explanation of the plastic manufacturing process. Additionally, Tom developed a thorough cost-benefit analysis to help Randy and Steve understand the feasibility of the project. They had found the company they wanted to work with!
Randy said, "PM Mold completely understands the the costs involved with patenting, copywriting, and engineering. They also know how to work with a small start-up entrepreneur."
Randy and Steve made a down payment for the project and PM Mold began the process. During the design process, it was discovered that, with plastic injection molding, the siding gauge could be longer than the prototype siding gauge. This allowed the tool to be used with the 10" shake as well as the original shake. Furthermore, during the molding process, the gauge could be printed. Thus the Siding Calculator was born.
Within weeks, the plastic injection mold was designed, machined, and in production. At last, the SimpleSider was introduced to the construction industry.
Since then, the SimpleSider has been sold to siding contractors in every state and throughout Canada. Louisiana Pacific has used the SimpleSider to promote the ease of installing their SmartSide products, and to train over 10,000 remodeling contractors.
"The SimpleSider, invented by siding contractors for siding contractors, improves efficiency and productivity. This would never would have been possible without PM Mold!"
- Randy Kruse