By Stephanie Kilroy
One hundred and ten years ago, Luther Haws created a drinking solution that would become the first product for Haws Sanitary Drinking Faucet Company. Luther saw children drinking from a common cup on a playground at a public school; as a result, he invented a bubblerhead drinking faucet. This innovation sparked what would eventually be an enterprise business employing over two hundred employees globally.
The product innovation initiated by Luther Haws continued across generations. In the 1940’s, maintenance men from an oil refinery in Richmond, CA would come by the Haws plant in Berkeley to shop for parts: round ball type bubblers, flow regulator and fittings. After inquiring about the need for these spare parts instead of completed models, Haws was informed that these parts were being used to build equipment to flush eyes. Employees at Haws sought to understand the needs of the customer and began making these emergency eyewashes and drench showers for them. This was the unofficial launch of Haws emergency equipment products; the earliest drawings date back to 1949.
Haws employees have great pride in our innovative spirit which continues to thrive in 2017. One of Haws’ recent accomplishments has been the development of a professionalized R&D department. Under the leadership of Michael Joyer, new ideas are being generated regularly with many of these innovative ideas already introduced to the market. For example, the 7501T Tempered, Gravity-Fed, Portable Eyewash was one of the first products borne out of the R&D lab.
Haws is also called to innovate, not simply with new products, but in the way we do business. We are a stable, multigenerational family company, we are learning to change and improve processes. Haws employees are looking for internal efficiencies and ways in which we can best meet the needs of our customers. Recently, the Production team has developed a cross-training initiative aimed at flexing team work assignments to serve business demands.
These types of cross-functional, support teams are increasing and delivering impactful deliverables. In Q1, Marketing and Customer Service launched a Live Chat program on the Haws website to provide immediate access to customers. The Haws China website launch is another joint effort initiative intended to widen our global marketplace coverage. Launched in Q2 2017, this was a true collaboration between the Haws China and Corporate Marketing teams. And these are just a few of the examples of all the successful small and large activities that are helping drive change to redefine how we innovate, how we grow and how we foster a culture that is rewarding for all.
One hundred and ten years later, Haws continues our commitment to inventing, designing and manufacturing hydration products as well as standardized and customized emergency response products. With more than 8,000 distribution locations and 200 employees worldwide, we continually focus on quality, service, reliability and complete solution support. Headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, USA, Haws is globally represented with locations in Switzerland, Singapore, China, India, and Brazil. For more information on Haws, visit www.Hawsco.com.