Go-To Guys for Solving Problems

By the late 1980s, RK Rubber made a key decision that dramatically changed the scope of its business. In order to play to its strength  solving problems for customers by fabricating custom rubber products  the company decided to end its relationship as a Goodyear distributor.

Changes in the industry influenced the company's decision. Over the years, distributors became mega-distributors-one-stop shops for everything from rubber products to motors, chains, gearboxes and sprockets that could sell product, but not necessarily service the end-users if things went wrong.

That left a niche for players like RK Rubber, which through decades of experience had established a sterling reputation as problem solvers.

That sharper business focus led the company to move to a larger facility in 1989, creating room for new equipment  like a longitudinal belt  splicing press or vulcanizer that could handle new rubber fabrics and applications. And the company's clientele changed, too, as new companies emerged and older ones disappeared in the wake of increased global competition and tumultuous economies.