National Steel Rule – An American Company With a Global Outlook
For a “small,” family owned company to become recognized as a leader in any industry in the United States is certainly a difficult task. Building on that success to eventually achieve a global leadership position is even more remarkable. Maintaining that global position for well over 20 years is certainly a unique and rare accomplishment indeed. But that is exactly what New Jersey based National Steel Rule has managed to do in its 54-year history of creating and producing rotary and flat steel rules.
What does President Ed Mucci Jr. see as the dominating factors for the company’s success and staying power?
“Overstated as it may sometimes be, the number one reason is our people. We are very proud of the loyal, hard-working and adaptable group that we have assembled. The second reason is the personalized way we deal with our customers. From the very beginning, my father, Ed Sr. and his partner Joe Bialoglow always treated their customers like they would their friends. That culture continues today and even though we now have a much larger number of customers worldwide, we still know most of them on a personal, first name basis!”
“We have also recognized that bigger isn’t always necessarily better and continually challenge ourselves to stay flexible and responsive, periodically setting new goals and standards that keep us at our very best and prevent us from ever becoming complacent. History shows that many excellent companies have often forgotten what they did to become excellent and paid a steep price because of it. We are dedicated to avoiding that type of critical mistake.”
National Steel Rule’s founding partners, Joe Bialoglow and Ed Mucci Sr., both of whom had originally started in the die making field, began their business of making high quality serrated rules in 1967 and like many other American entrepreneurs, started out in a small garage. In the beginning, it was as fundamental as grinding one serrated tooth at a time. They employed their knowledge of die making to help them in the development of several unique rules that not only cut very well but could be bent without heat. Removing the need for heat was a monumental breakthrough at the time. This type of specially formulated steel continues as the accepted industry standard even to this day for many of the products across the steel rule spectrum.
National had the daunting task of going head to head with a huge industry giant, who controlled the market at that time. NSR wisely employed ongoing product innovation and highly responsive customer service as their primary weapons against a much larger, extremely powerful competitor. National’s path to success was slow but steady and by 1992, they had risen from their humble beginnings to become an industry leader in rotary rule manufacturing. Ed Sr. has said more than once, “We are actually a service company disguised as a steel rule manufacturer.” The first and most critical marching order to all NSR employees is, “Always take care of our customers. They are the key to our success!”
Ed Jr. stated, “In this day and age, it is obvious that quality is no longer an option or a choice, it is an absolute necessity to anyone who wants to effectively compete. When we asked our customers exactly what they wanted from us, they answered very clearly and we used that feedback to positively differentiate ourselves from our competition. From “asking” our customers we developed the acronym, “ASC” to help guide us in the best possible ways of providing our quality products. The ASC initials stand for, Availability, Speed and Consistency and these words speak for themselves in the highly demanding marketplace we are faced with today.”
According to Mucci, there are several important ways that ASC has been implemented to set the stage for global results. For one, NSR has amassed the most extensive and diverse steel rule inventory anywhere. This, in turn provides the fastest, most reliable product deliveries on special orders and stock items alike. They employ a manufacturing process versatility and capacity that is second to none. A highly experienced and knowledgeable customer service group sees to it that the network of production, distribution and service are effectively connected at all times. This network involves hundreds of people in over 75 countries!
Consistency comes from a focus on the company’s core products. It’s very simple- National makes steel rule and only steel rule. Their diversification comes from the vast array of products they make. They literally have something for everyone and every application.
The company has long been a global leader in the creation of innovative steel rule solutions. Some of the many tooth designs Ed Sr. and Joe Bialoglow originally created are still in use today. In truth, mass duplication of NSR’s unique configurations by competitors is testimony to their functionality and demand. Here’s a list of just a few of the most commonly duplicated NSR’s products: Laser Crease, Euro Cut, Klean Kut and 10 tooth, radius gullet serrated, MicroTrak, PERFormaX and Counter Combo. When the industry looks to National for constant innovation, they are rarely disappointed.
To assist customers with advice and counsel on the vast product line and the various applications, National has assembled an excellent Technical Team with over 250 years combined experience in steel rule manufacturing and converting expertise.
From it’s modest beginning in that small garage, National has now expanded into a 100,000 sq. ft., four building complex in Linden, New Jersey. Just 10 minutes away from Newark International Airport and less than an hour from La Guardia airport, JFK airport and New York City, NSR is an ideal location for shipping anywhere in the country or the world. National has a Kansas City, Missouri operation that primarily produces micro- perforating and specialty blades that are also sold around the world. This location is also used as a centralized stocking point for the company for the US. In 2019, National proudly announced the opening of its new testing laboratory in Farmingdale, New Jersey. Fully equipped to do both rotary and flat testing and product development, the lab is overseen by Rick Putch, expertly applying his 40+ years of varied experience in many facets of our industry.
National has long been a supporter and active participant in the IADD. Edmund Mucci Sr. was one of the very early organizers and advocates of the association. Four IADD Presidents have come from NSR; Edmund Mucci Sr., Ed Mucci Jr., Greg Zimmer and Jennifer Thoroe. IADD awards have also been quite common. Ed Mucci Jr. and Rick Putch each received the coveted “PEAK” award and Edmund Mucci Sr. recently received the IADD’s highest honor, its “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Through the years, in an effort to capture resources, expand capabilities and extend capacity, NSR has acquired three other notable rule manufacturers. They are: Seaboard Steel Rule, Simonds/Notting Rule Division and most recently, Zimmer Industries, a company with its own 130-year history of rule manufacturing. Greg Zimmer came over from Zimmer Industries and joined the National management team as a Sr. VP.