Laclede Chain Deepens Its OEM Expertise With Strategic Hire

January 16, 2020

FENTON, MO.— As of October 2019, Chris Hric has joined Laclede Chain in the role of General Manager for the company’s newly created OEM division. Laclede recently underwent restructuring in order to better serve customers in four particular sectors: general industry, rigging and marine, traction, and OEMs.

Prior to joining Laclede Chain, Hric spent nearly twenty successful years in sales leadership roles serving the manufacturing and industrial sector. Most recently, he worked as Regional Sales Manager for a nationally recognized structural tubing fabricator, where he created and maintained the company’s relationships with OEMs such as John Deere and Tier 1 suppliers to automotive companies such as Chrysler.

In his role as General Manager, Hric will be working closely with Laclede’s OEM partners to advance their business strategies through smart chain solutions. He will also be responsible for the coaching and development of Laclede’s OEM sales team, in addition to serving and educating its partners on new, innovative products.

Hric believes in a three-pronged approach to addressing the needs of OEMs. To serve OEMs’ research and development efforts, Hric and his team are proactively engaging OEM engineers and product development experts in discussions on their future vision, working in tandem to create custom chain solutions that can shape their ideas into reality.

“Our 3D printing and prototyping capabilities allow us to help our customers’ research and development teams visualize how new products can come together,” Hric said. “For R&D, custom solutions are what helps them innovate—instead of us saying, ‘Here’s our standard product, take it or leave it.’ Our ability to do what other chain manufacturers can’t or won’t is what really sets Laclede Chain apart.”

For ongoing manufacturing needs, Hric will guide his sales and account coordination teams to analyze customers’ usage trends, optimizing their inventory levels for maximum efficiency. He will regularly collaborate with Laclede’s operations team to ensure the company’s production flow is aligned with the needs of its customers.

Finally, Hric sees a great deal of need in the replacement parts market that serves end users of OEM products, especially within the agricultural and forestry sectors.

“Replacement parts are critical to keeping farms and forestry operations running,” Hric said. “And in order for that to happen, it’s our job to make sure our partners are stocked with the right inventory levels of the right products.”

Hric and his team will be actively attending trade shows and conducting research to discover opportunities for Laclede to help OEMs, both in terms of chain solutions and chain safety. “When we can help manufacturers operate more safely, that’s a huge win,” said Hric. “I’ve been in a lot of manufacturing facilities throughout my career, and safety is a big passion of mine.”

Tim Riley, Laclede Chain President, believes Hric’s experience will further enhance the company’s ability to serve OEMs. “Chris’s experience in gaining and continuing to earn the trust of prominent manufacturers is going to help our entire team serve them better,” Riley said. “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone level up as a result of having Chris on our team.”

In addition to Hric’s extensive manufacturing and industrial experience, he holds a Six Sigma Black Belt certification from Clemson University and a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Truman State University. Hric also served his country as an Armor officer in the United States Army throughout the 1990s, having spent time stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and Schweinfurt, Germany.

About Laclede Chain Manufacturing: Laclede Chain Manufacturing has over 250,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution space in four locations across the United States. The company is the oldest domestic chain manufacturer in the United States and has over 200 employees across its system.