Four or five years ago, Delavan Ag pumps President David Beaudry started hearing a lot of requests for his agricultural pumps to be available to the RV market.
After some market research, Beaudry and his team decided that providing freshwater pumps to the RV industry – both OEM and replacement markets – could be a profitable idea.
“We kind of feel like there’s no real dominant or strong American-made presence in the (RV water pump) market, and since we already have three or four models that are pretty much RV-identical, all we needed was NSF approval and some market research to get us ready to go,“ he said.
They’ve since obtained the NSF approval, which required inspection of Delavan Ag’s manufacturing process, as well as its suppliers to ensure the parts and construction process were safe for drinking water.
For years the company has served agricultural and industrial applications, making pumps for everything from crop sprayers to industrial fire extinguishers.
“About 10 years ago, Delavan started to make diaphragm pumps, mostly with the agriculture industry in mind,” Beaudry said. “The construction of these pumps is pretty similar to those used by RV manufacturers now, and definitely the same technology.”
With the product and standards approval in-hand, Delavan is ready to debut the products to the RV industry later this year and into early next year.
The important thing for Beaudry is that the company moves into the RV market at a reasonable pace.
“We’re not a huge company,” he said. “And the worst thing you can do, in my experience, is bite off more than you can chew by taking on a big customer or a big market when you’re not ready to deal with the volume increases.”
Delavan is hoping to spend the fall and early winter finding those strategic partners, which could be aftermarket replacement channels, or OEM customers, according to Beaudry.
“We’d like to get a few solid customers, so that we can jump in,” he said. “That way we have incremental growth without any danger of too much demand too fast. If you burn a customer and lose them right out of the gate, you probably won’t have that door opened to you for a long time.”
The “Made in the U.S.A” stamp and quality construction are an important label for Beaudry and his company because he’s seen first-hand what happens when quality is sacrificed for lower cost.
“When (one of our competitors) moved to Mexico, they partially gave birth to Delavan’s early success in the ag market, because they had quality problems and delivery problems for a year,” Beaudry said. “And an OEM can’t not have a pump, so they go through the Yellow Pages looking for the next pump maker.”