Sioux Chief Manufacturing Co.

Making life easier for plumbers has been the paramount concern for Sioux Chief Manufacturing Co.  since it was founded in 1957. The Missouri-based company has been producing drains, valves, manifolds and other related items for generations, and it says the values instilled within it by its founder have been the bedrock on which it has built its success. “The values upon which the late Ed Ismert founded Sioux Chief continue to be the driving forces behind the company today: concern for the plumbing tradesman, a culture based on family and a dedication to continuous improvement,” the company says.

Ismert founded Sioux Chief after running a plumbing wholesale supply company for years. The company says Ismert was looking for a way to protect his wholesale supply business from the boom-and-bust cycle of the housing market, and started Sioux Chief with the packaging of specialty fasteners and other components required for residential plumbing jobs.

By the early 1960s, Ismert and Sioux Chief had introduced an innovation to the industry in the form of preformed closed copper tubes used for stub-outs. According to the company, this eliminated the need for plumbers to sweat solder tube caps onto copper tubes for water shock and test-off purposes. It ushered in a new era of product development that intensified after Ismert’s two oldest sons purchased the company and took the reins in 1975.

The company purchased its current facility in 1983, and originally it provided Sioux Chief with 23,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehouse and office space. Today, the facility has been expanded to encompass more than 300,000 square feet on 140 acres in Peculiar, Mo.

Sioux Chief says its name honors the values of the Native American tribes that made their home in the area, and reflects its founder’s lifetime interest in Native American culture. The company explains that Ismert’s father was a dedicated collector of Native American artifacts in the Midwest.

“When the time came to name his new company, it did not take Ed long, as he had learned from his father all about the Sioux Indian Nation,” the company explains. “The Sioux Nation were a very proud and resolute people that, while being fierce and competitive, held in highest regard the family, the Earth and especially Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit.”

Ismert’s brother, an artist, provided the company’s distinctive logo, featuring a Sioux chief in full regalia. “Sioux Chief Manufacturing, being named and patterned after such a distinctive people, would put forth an image not easily forgotten,” the company says.

In-House Capabilities

From gauges to faucets to fittings, Sioux Chief manufactures a wide variety of needs for the plumbing professional. The company says it takes pride in being able to identify and fulfill the needs of plumbers across the country. “Sioux Chief creates and manufactures some of the most diverse and innovative plumbing products in the country,” the company says. “We focus on product innovation initiated by field research and interviews with plumbers, engineers, code officials and distributors.”

The company is able to bring those ideas to life  because it does so much of the work itself. “One of the reasons Sioux Chief is able to turn an idea into a product so quickly is because we design and build our own machines, tools and dies, and equipment to ensure that exact product tolerances are achieved,” the company says.

No matter how successful the company is, however, Sioux Chief says it depends on continuous improvement to ensure that it never rests on its laurels. “Process innovation also controls manufacturing costs, providing constant, reliable value to the customer, year after year,” the company says.

Made in America

Sioux Chief says it is proud of the fact that not only are 90 percent of its products manufactured in-house, but those products are made in the United States. The company says American-made products may have fallen out of favor with some companies looking for a cheaper overseas alternative, but the overall cost of products made offshore is higher than they expect.

“Sourcing manufactured goods in America has dramatically changed over the past few decades, with many manufacturers, distributors and users choosing less-expensive imported products,” the company says. “Cheaper sticker prices on imported products can be a trap. There are many added costs not accounted for, such as long lead times, product quality problems, damaged shipments and code compliance. But, by far, the biggest cost is the effect to the importing country’s overall economy, that being the loss of jobs.”

The combination of American-made products, product development and internal capabilities have made Sioux Chief a trusted manufacturer, and the company says this will continue to be the foundation of its success. “Sioux Chief is proud to be a true American innovator, one that combines the desire to innovate with the capability to make it happen,” the company says.

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