L.S Starrett Company continues national, international business

  • The L.S. Starrett Company in downtown Athol. CARSON MCGRATH

Staff Writer
Published: 5/1/2018 10:44:00 PM

The L.S. Starrett Company settled its roots in Athol in 1880, and has since expanded its reach throughout the world.

President and CEO Douglas A. Starrett said the company has six operations in the United States and multiple international locations in Brazil, Scotland and China. The company celebrated its 20th anniversary of its China manufacturing plant this past year.

“We are a multinational company, not reliant on just this region for our livelihood,” said Starrett.

The company manufactures an array of precision tools, gauges, measuring instruments and saw blades. Its engineers can even custom design tools to meet customers’ needs.

In Fiscal Year 2017, Starrett’s financial results were below the company’s expectations. According to the latest report to shareholders, net sales declined 1 percent, or $2.7 million, compared to the previous year.

Challenges internationally hit the company during previous years and continued into 2017, said Starrett.

“A big part of our global business is in South America and Brazil,” said Starrett. “Brazil has been in a recession for three years, and that really hurt our performance over the last couple of years.”

When the oil market dropped two years ago, Starrett said the company faced problems domestically, specifically for the precision hand tool business. But, Starrett said, he’s hoping 2018 will be better.

“This year we are tracking at a much better trend. We are starting to grow sales again both in North and South America, even in Europe,” he said. “We expect that trend to continue, but the growth for us has been very much so in the technology products.”

New laser and software-based metrology products were introduced this past year. Starrett said the company keeps up with new, evolving technologies, creating tools that require communication by either cable or wireless capabilities.

The entrance into the education channel has also been a focus of the company in recent years.

“One of the biggest challenges our industry has is that less and less children are going into manufacturing trades,” said Starrett.

To fill the technical skills gap for manufacturing companies, Starrett has implemented a precision measuring instrument curriculum and certification program for technical high schools and community colleges across the country.

The company even partnered with Athol High School to open a Starrett science lab in 2017 to train local students to use precision tools.

Looking ahead, Starrett said the company’s efforts will continue to focus on its four strategic properties: profitability, innovation, organizational capability and strengthening the Starrett brand.

To learn more about the company and its product line, visit www.starrett.com


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