Otis Technology Factory Tour

Otis Technology's NY  Factory
Otis Technology’s NY Factory
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Manasquan, NJ –-(Ammoland.com)- Rain pelted the windshield as my truck buzzed through the overcast clouds which encased the foothills to the Adirondack mountains.

A mix between hedgerows and farmers fields bleed into woodlands as the general increase in elevation could be seen, and felt.

One eye on the road, another on my GPS, coffee mug in one hand, each town felt smaller and smaller giving one a feel for the late 1950s. Father time seemed to have his grip on the aesthetics of the landscape and towns at the base of the Adirondack Mountains in North Central NewYork.

Just hours away from “the city”, a name shooters, hunters and our soldiers trust for protecting their guns is a place, Otis Technology, calls home.

Otis. The breech to muzzle system born from a necessity, raised by an entrepreneurial spirit and utilized by legions of shooters on the range, in the backcountry and in combat.

Many companies have a miserable dirty beginnings “story”, well, the Otis story started truly dirty, rather than miserably. Founder Doreen Garrett fell into a muddy bog, clogging her gun at the age of 16 hunting with her father. As is known, necessity is the mother of invention and Garrett set upon the initial process of creating an infield cleaning system. The original system was called the The Whole Kit and Caboodle®, which was stored in old shoe polish tins. From a business stand point, the story really becomes interesting when Garrett faked her way into the SHOT Show at age 16, only to walk away with orders for the new breech to muzzle cleaning system.

Otis Technology's Production Team
Otis Technology’s Production Team: some employees have been with the company for over 25 years.

Otis employees Marketing Manager Heather Bennett and VP Sales Len Nelson were kind enough to give me a tour of the Otis factory. In learning about the company, Nelson and Bennett told me, Garrett had to recruit friends and family to help build the orders in the basement. If visiting the Otis factory taught me anything, humble beginning are the fertile soils for future reward. To this day, the Otis company is still family owned, a unique aspect in todays hunting and shooting sports industry for a big company. Upon entering the manufacturing facility, I could view a large mission statement banner, hung for everyone to see.

“To continually assess our customers’ needs and adapt our organization to meet these requirements. In this endeavor we are committed to working with the highest standards of ethics in a team-like manner, bringing credit to ourselves, and our community.”

Otis Technology Robots quietly delivering parts destined to help hunters and shooters.
Otis Technology Robots quietly delivering parts destined to help hunters and shooters.

Nelson, the VP of Sales was adamant, there is a sense of pride and loyalty not just to the company, but also from co-worker to co-worker. He feels this promotes efficiency, teamwork, problem solving and just a rather pleasant place to work.

People are trained to do multiple jobs on the constantly moving assembly line and look out for each other. Constantly inspecting what the person behind them produced. Bennett and Nelson spoke of the atmosphere at Otis being extremely open to employee suggestions looking to constantly improve on efficiency. In addition to the constant striving for increased efficiency, the automated warehousing system and robots which would bring you a desired item was fascinating to me, since I grew up using tow motors for warehouse work. The entire facility a highly efficient, problem solving, gun cleaning power house. Because of this atmosphere, some employees have been with the company for over 25 years.

Otis Technology Factory Automated Warehousing System
Otis Technology Factory Automated Warehousing System
Otis Technology Factory
Otis Technology Factory

As Bennett, Nelson and I walked through the facility talking business, products and systems, one word continued to rise to the surface. Value.

We take value for granted nowadays, not reflecting on the true meaning.

I asked Nelson what he saw being the true Otis value. His response was firm;

“At Otis, we support shooters and hunters of all types in maintaining their firearms for trouble-free shooting. Nowhere, though, is this more important than supplying our military troops with the proper cleaning gear. A functioning, reliable weapon is vital to each warfighter and ultimately to our freedom. We are particularly proud to support our troops with our firearms cleaning gear.”

Another fantastic lesson learned from this visit, if you are not a problem solver you are just another jerk on the phone or taking up space. One of the most powerful aspects of the company from the ownership level downward, is their commitment to reinvesting in the company. Most of their processes are done in house in order to cut cost and be able to truly manage their inefficiencies to better provide value to those caring for their firearm investments. One just needed to look at the different types of equipment their engineers have re-purposed to fit the Otis production needs. While I am not allowed to reveal exactly what types of machines have been re-purposed, there were basically product machines re-purposed to manufacture a difficult aspect of production. Pretty resourceful.

The spirit of finding a better solution is still alive as it was the day Garrett fell into the muck.

Otis SLXtreme iPhone Case
Otis SLXtreme iPhone Case

While Otis is most famous for their entire cleaning system, which stays in my truck during duck season especially, they provide a variety of solvents, cleaners, cleaning patches, dry lubes for hot dessert conditions for the military, Star chamber cleaning tool for AR rifles, optics cleaners and even iPhone Cases for extreme adventures. And available this week, May 1, 2015, the new FLUGZ hearing protection system which also allow you to mold them to your own ears. Innovation can’t stop, and neither does the Otis team.

Stopping at the exit of the Otis campus, I looked at the impressive entrance sign to the left. The word value kept ringing in my head, it wouldn’t leave. Just a small cleaning system protecting so many people’s investments in guns and having an important part in the daily jobs of our soldiers. I guess the old saying rings true, big things come in small packages.

Otis Technology Sign
Stopping at the exit of the Otis campus, I looked at the impressive entrance sign.

About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid is a writer and business professional from upstate New York. After deciding to pursue his dream of becoming an outdoor writer, Jason started a blog from his dorm room at Houghton College, growing it and working hard to earn opportunities. While bowhunting big game is his ultimate passion, Jason welcomes all outdoor challenges which force him to push his limits. Jason’s work can be viewed on his website Pushingthewildlimits.com