Celebrating 70 Years!
“Delivering Confidence With Every Measure”
(602) 243-3951 | ROC#180472
*Reprinted from Arizona Contractor & Community magazine – Issue: Winter 2017
In Ben Franklin’s famous quote, “Nothing in this world is certain except for death and taxes,” the famous American statesman overlooked another inevitable certainty: In any economy, everything gets weighed, sometimes multiple times.Fortunately, there is Southwestern Scale Company Inc. to assist in this endeavor. A fixture in the Valley since 1948, the company still measures up as they celebrate their 70th anniversary. “If Southwestern Scale supplies your scale equipment, you have our assurance that it’s going to be accurate, precise, and have longevity,” declares Mark Murdza, the company’s director of business and sales.Murdza weighs the evidence and is justifiably proud of how many industries are aided by equipment from Southwestern Scale. “Whether it is for commercial trade, production control, quality assurance, or safety purposes, everything gets weighed somewhere between cradle and grave,” he says. “This occurs with textiles, agricultural items, mined materials or otherwise.”
Scales and weighing systems are used for a multitude of purposes, including assuring the value of goods for sale, product quality, process control, safety, process efficiency, and inventory management. By providing the weighing equipment and ensuring its accuracy, Southwestern Scale has long supported companies that are producing goods and materials that drive the regional economy. These industries encompass chemical, farming, food, industrial, laboratory, livestock, mining, railroad, recycling, sand and gravel, distribution, and waste.
The company’s sales personnel engage their customers in a consultative perspective assuring to understand the application and purpose of the weighing equipment, providing solutions that meet their needs. “Being your value-added solutions provider is our goal; our solutions are the key to your success,” Murdza says.
Southwestern Scale is at the forefront of the evolution of weighing solutions. The purposes for scales have evolved, the types of applications and requirements have escalated, and technology provided the opportunity to deliver capabilities that were previously unavailable, on an exponential level according to Murdza. “We are proud of that history,” he says. “We feel as though the company has played an important part in the evolution of the economy.”The company’s business focus is Arizona and neighboring states, but they have expanded to serve customers across the nation. Their expertise, however, is such that they’ve recently sold their products in Canada, Mexico, and, through a partner in Melbourne, Australia, into Morocco, Kazakhstan, and Namibia. “We out-competed Chinese companies for those jobs,” Murdza crows. “We’re trying to maintain the company’s long-term sustainability, and a portion is exporting our products and services outside the state. But our primary focus is supporting the local economy, which has its ups and downs.”
Evolving from a regional player performing 95 percent of its work in Arizona 15 years ago to serving nationwide and global clients has helped the company stay balanced. “You would have never thought that a little scale company on Broadway Road in south Phoenix next to a bunch of scrap yards would be doing these types of projects with over 35 workers,” Southwestern Scale President Roger Dumont says.
Southwestern Scale’s passion for their business is evident at their offices at 2535 West Broadway Road. With the recent widening of the street, the company took the opportunity to demarcate their business uniquely. An antique scale is situated in front of the building and the new parking lot has a full-size mockup of their Side- winder truck scale. An antique scale is in the lobby to give visitors a chance to check how their diet is doing.
The Southwestern Scale office includes a museum-worthy display featuring vintage scales and weights along with historical information about some of the company’s unique business clients such as the Phoenix Zoo. Their Galapagos tortoises weighed about 500 pounds, and Ruby, the famous painting elephant, weighed almost 8,500 pounds.
Another fascinating artifact is the table in the company’s boardroom, a scaled-down version of Southwestern Scale’s renowned Sidewinder truck scale. “The employee, our manufacturing foreman Dan Seckler, who built the table, will have been with the company 39 years this September,” Roger Dumont says. “That’s why people want to work here – it’s tied to the company’s culture.”
Southwestern Scale has a fascinating history, but the company is focused on the future. This includes changing some of their product offerings and branching out into new opportunities to contribute to the local economy, whether it’s weighing sand and gravel, pharmaceuticals, or production output using automated check-weighing equipment.
One new product is an automated filling and batching system. “We built automatic keg filler for a beverage company in town, which improved their production output by 400 percent,” Murdza says. “It’s these skills, technologies, capacities, and knowledge that we translate across all industries to improve their productivity.”
Roger Dumont – President and Co-Owner
As I near my 18th anniversary with Southwestern Scale, I find it amazing that when I started entering my early adulthood, I didn’t want to be here. Not because I didn’t like the business, but because sometimes my father and I didn’t see eye to eye. Like any child of a small business owner, I was involved in business activities, especially mundane items like stuffing envelopes, getting trade show materials ready, picking up trash on the company’s property, cleaning the office, and sweeping floors.
As I got older, more exciting work opportunities came my way such as working with my brother during summers in high school on the construction crew putting in scale foundations. Again, I always seemed to be the one cleaning the shovels and tools after every pour. I also worked with the manufacturing department and went with field service techs on calls. Eventually, I produced the entire daily customer invoicing in my bedroom during high school. There were times my father would get frustrated with me not getting the invoicing done each day because of either my homework load or being a lazy teenager. He threatened to fire me numerous times but never did. Thinking about it now, as a father of a couple of teenagers, I can relate to his frustration.
After high school, I decided it would be less stressful to pursue accounting work at a variety of small CPA offices when not in class at the University of Arizona. It was a great experience understanding how small businesses worked and their pitfalls. After graduating with an accounting degree, I became a cost accountant for BHP Copper (then called Magma Copper} in San Manuel, AZ. Within five years, I was promoted to the senior financial analyst at the corporate office in Tucson.
Eventually tiring of corporate culture, I worked at a small family-owned company in Tucson. After a year at the job, my father and brother asked me to rejoin Southwestern Scale in 1999. I was apprehensive since my working relationship with my dad was like oil and water. I decided to commute from Tucson to see how it worked out until my wife finished her school year teaching fifth grade.
My father and I butted heads during the four short months we worked together until his passing. If we had continued working together, I might have left the company, valuing our relationship more than the job. Importantly, during those few short months, I think he came to realize that Dean and I were ready to take over the business and that gave him peace.
Initially, I was obsessed with determining how to make the company realize its potential. It was invigorating to finally be in a situation where I could make a real contribution and see the results. That tenacity hasn’t stopped 17 years later. I am proud of the legacy of this company and the people, past and present who have made it what it is today. We currently have a fantastic group of individuals here to take us to the next chapter of the business.
Dean Dumont -Vice President and Co-Owner
The scale business has been part of my life ever since I was a kid. I would spend many days with my father at his work either on job sites or projects at the office. When we moved to Arizona in 1984, he purchased Southwestern Scale. Throughout high school and college, I spent summers working at his shop in Phoenix.
My father made it a point to provide an experience in almost every sector of our industry. I believe this was the best way for me to learn and I am thankful he did that. After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 1992, I went into sales. His first piece of advice was, “Here is the phone book, start with A and let me know when you are done.” It was a hard lesson in “Cold Calling 101” but made me realize just how important weighing systems are to our customers.
Customers mostly welcomed me into their operations and shared how they used our products. I learned a great deal about the industry and the region during that period. There are few roads in Arizona I have not traveled working with clients. This year marks my 25th anniversary at Southwestern Scale, and I am truly honored to be a part of our 70th anniversary as a company.
Mark Murdza – Director of Sales and Business Development
As a first-generation American, born to Eastern European parents with a strong work ethic, I was raised around mills, drills, and CNC machines. That exposure led to a Manufacturing Engineering degree from Arizona State University in 1995 and a 17-year career in technical marketing and sales in the semiconductor business. After being in a global market and industry, I wanted to understand who drove our regional economy and joined Southwestern Scale in 2011. As we serve more than 20 different industries, our company has a pulse on the players in each market. I’m gaining insight into how the various operations function and what drives their markets.
Kristin Miranda- Accounting Manager
I was born and raised in Phoenix and obtained an associate’s degree in accounting from Phoenix College, and a bachelor’s degree in Global Business Leadership and Management from ASU West. While in school, I began my accounting career as an apprentice at Barrow Neurological Group and later took a job with a law firm and worked my way up to lead bookkeeper. After 15 years, I joined Southwestern Scale in 2015 to become the accounting manager in charge of business services.
The company’s integrity attracted me along with the fantastic team of people that have grown to be like a second family. The longevity of Southwestern Scale is remarkable, and I look forward to being a part of the company as we work toward many more years of quality, success, and growth.
History of the Company
For 70 years, Southwestern Scale has proudly served the needs of customers in Arizona and across the nation. The company was started in 1948 by Jack Payne and Cliff Taylor in a small garage located in Phoenix.
Arizona companies needed accurate and reliable weighing equipment in order to sell products and goods. Southwestern Scale met that requirement providing manufacturing, installing and servicing weighing equipment. The company and regional economy, boomed, and they eventually relocated to a larger facility on 24th Street near Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
Southwestern Scale relocated again in 1976 because of the airport’s expansion. They moved into their current facility at 2535 West Broadway Road. Fourteen years later, in 1984, Rollin Dumont purchased the company from its original owners. Rollin knew the owners from back when he worked in marketing for another firm, the Howe Richardson Scale Company in Vermont in the 1960s. Rollin moved his family from Illinois to Phoenix to continue his 20-plus year career in the scale industry.
His sons, Dean and Roger Dumont, grew up with the company. “We’ve been involved since we were teenagers here, and even younger when we had the business in Illinois,” Roger says.
Dean worked sales with his father, working with light-capacity clients while Rollin handled the heavy-capacity customers. “He was a master salesman and marketer, and I learned a lot about the business from him,” Dean says. “My first sale was a Parts Counting Scale to a “Fastener” company in Phoenix. I was pretty thrilled.”Dean and Roger became the owners of Southwestern Scale when Rollin passed away in 2000. Their fat her was both the owner and the top salesman and left a huge void in the company. “His nickname was ‘The Scale Baron of the Southwest‘ says Roger. “Our company should have been a statistic. We should have just gone away.”
The brothers updated the company’s logo and marketing, and the company continued to prosper. Roger says much of the success is because of his brother, Dean. ”That guy knows where every scale is in the Southwest,” he says, admiringly.
The Dumont brothers’ years of experience, trustworthiness, and progressive business practices are combined with the company’s innovative solutions. More than 70 years later, Southwestern Scale continues to be the leader in the scale industry.
Southwestern Scale has served local industries since 1948 and is proud to have played an integral part in the economic development of the Southwest. Because of this lengthy history, the company understands their customer’s needs, and works expertly to meet them. Their staff knows which products are superior and sell those at fair prices.
The company offers a wide-range of high-quality products including weighing scales, software components, and peripherals for more than 17 industrial sectors. There is a Southwestern Scale solution for virtually every operation-related weighing requirement. “The breadth of our product means that your weighing solution can come with various levels of functionality and technical complexity to perfectly suit your particular size and budget needs,” Murdza states. The company offers many types of high quality, heavy-capacity equipment:
- Cattle/ Livestock Scales
- Railway Infrastructure Monitoring Systems
- Combination Rail & Truck Scales
- Crane Scales
- Axle Scales
- Forklift Scales
- On-Board Truck Scales
- Off-Road Mining Truck Scales
- Truck Scales
- Rail Scales
- Mobile Bogie Test Rig – Weigh & Balance
- Floor Scales
- Bench Scales
- Counting Scales
- Tank Scales
- On Board Loader Scales
- High Impact/Coil Scales
- Belt Scales
- Used Truck Scales
Southwestern Scale provides scale calibration services, new products, integration, construction, installation and rental needs for most industries. Their services are available nationwide. “Our focus is providing exceptional service that exceeds our customers’ expectations,” Murdza says. “We take great pride in the quality of products that we manufacture and sell along with our decades of experience.”
The company produces one of the most popular truck scales in the weighing industry: The Sidewinder. Murdza loves to tout Southwestern Scale’s most famous product. “The Sidewinder is a tank!” he says. “It takes a beating and keeps going. It’s been in some of the nastiest, dirtiest, and most abusive applications in the Southwest since the 1980s and has proven to withstand all the impacts.”Southwestern Scale is also an authorized manufacturer and distributor of products from premier suppliers including BTEK Scales and Trakblaze Global. Southwestern Scale fabricates BTEK Scales’ truck and railcar scales, among other items in their portfolio, for sales in the Western U.S. “This relationship allows us to have a larger solutions portfolio for our direct sales to our customers/market as well,” Murdza says.
The Trakblaze Global relationship allows Southwestern Scale exclusive North American distribution of niche solutions that are rarely available on this continent, in the form of portable and in-motion railcar scales. Southwestern Scale is vertically integrated, which means one-stop shopping if a customer needs an old truck or railroad scale replaced. The company has their own construction crew and can fabricate a new scale, rip out the old scale, refurbish the foundation, and put the new scale in the same hole at a fraction of the cost of their competitors. “With these types of jobs, no one else could have done them as efficiently and cost-effectively as us,” declares Murdza.
Service is king at Southwestern Scale. The company has the best-staffed service department in the region to do periodic calibrations or emergency repairs. Their service area covers Arizona, Southern California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Besides calibrating and servicing Southwestern Scale products, Arizona’s largest team of factory-trained technicians can usually repair other company’s products too.
Though Southwestern Scale has both in-state and out-of-state competition, they are the most comprehensive scale company in the region. They have more equipment and technicians servicing equipment than any of their local competitors. The company has a vested interest in the local economy and using Southwestern Scale means that you are “shopping locally.”
“No other competitor has what we have under one roof,” Murdza says. “Our manufacturing component sets us apart from our competitors, and we deliver it from a local freight point. We’re bringing products and services to market that our local competitors have yet to offer. We have unique products with rail scale technology and are developing weight-based control process systems. That includes taking existing equipment and upgrading it; we’re into product development.”
Remember that scales that are “Legal for Trade” must be registered and licensed with the state. When Southwestern Scale certifies your scale, they also submit all documentation so that your company will be in compliance to conduct business transactions immediately.
Company President Roger Dumont sums up Southwestern Scale’s philosophy in a simple, memorable sentence: “Everything gets weighed and we continue to position ourselves to be the ‘go-to’ source for weighing solutions and services.”