Engineering drivetrain for today
Everett, Wash.—From humble beginnings in Sacramento, Calif., as Randy’s Ring & Pinion, today the company known as RANDYS Worldwide provides differential gears, axles, driveshafts, transmissions, transfer cases, ring and pinions, and a diversity of related products throughout the North America and beyond.
Founder Randy Lyman moved his headquarters to Washington in 1989 and settled in Everett in 1994 with a specialized repair and service shop and a parts distribution facility. The company soon began its expansion to a variety of markets across North America and became a well-known manufacturer of ring and pinions and related drivetrain products.
Lyman sold his interests in the company in 2014 and the name changed in 2015 to RANDYS Worldwide. Today, there are seven distribution centers, including Everett and Portland in the Northwest; Fresno, Calif.; Arlington, Texas; Franklin, Tenn.; Florence, Ky.; and Zumbrota, Minn., said Neal Hollingsworth, marketing director at the company.
The premise with multiple locations, he said, is providing one-day shipping to the 20,000-plus customers in the U.S., accomplished now to some 95 percent of clients. Future plans are to have two locations on the East Coast to enhance customer service in the region.
Three product brands are owned and sold by RANDYS. The original Yukon Gear & Axle has been a well-known brand for decades and includes a wide selection of ring and pinions, limited slips, lockers, axles, rebuild kits, hubs, driveshafts, and more. Yukon, Hollingsworth said, “is an amazingly well-built product geared for builders and shops that demand high quality parts at, or exceeding, OE tolerances for installation, racing and modification projects.”
The USA Standard Gear line encompasses ring and pinions, axles, driveshafts, transmission and transfer case components, installation kits, plus the Spartan Locker line. USA products are designed for general installers and DIYers.
In 2017, RANDYS acquired Zumbrota Bearing & Gear in Minnesota and now markets Zumbrota Drivetrain “reman units that fill a niche in replacement transfer case, axle assembly, and manual transmissions,” Hollingsworth said, adding that with that acquisition RANDYS now employs more than 200 people, 70 at the Zumbrota facility.
Sales Director Mike Naish said the continuous growth at RANDYS is the result of having an excellent fill rate plus having “a very talented and technically trained sales staff, as well as ongoing product development at the company.”
Some 30 sales staff provide telephone and online tech assistance for customers at call centers in Everett and Zumbrota.
“We provide 12 hours of live technical services each business day for the products we sell that date back to 1948,” Naish said.
That parts inventory is $27 million, added Kevin Kaestner, RANDYS president and CEO, that supports annual sales that are approaching $100 million.
There is also a resource center that comprises a host of videos that include unboxing, product information, installation instructions, technical tips, calculators, and more. The online Diff Wizard site provides customers data on determining the exact differential parts needed based on make, model, and year.
A diverse customer base includes consumers, distributors, jobbers, repair facilities, fleets, and specialized racing outlets. Parts are sold through Keystone, Summit Racing, Advance Auto Parts, and AutoZone, among others. Naish said about 90 percent of sales are in North America with 70 percent being OE replacement and 30 percent for the 4WD and racing markets.
A key element of RANDYS product offerings involve the 12 full-time quality engineers and inspectors, Hollingsworth said. Carl Schmidt is the product design and engineering manager who oversees engineers who design and engineer products. A 13-year veteran at RANDYS, his staff uses sophisticated computer programs to design products, determine metallurgy specifications and tolerances, plus other critical processes in the creation, manufacture, and assembly of products.
“Our goal is to produce high-quality products that meet or exceed OE specs and are properly tested for reliability,” Schmidt said.
To that end, two quality control labs in Everett test everything from axles to gears, determining that materials content, rigidity, tolerances, durability, teeth measurement, and overall quality of the products meet company standards. “It’s vital that we continuously test our product to ensure that we are marketing exceptionally high-quality parts for our customers,” Schmidt said.
A variety of specialized equipment is used in the test labs, including spectrometers, optical comparators, micro-hardness testers, Coordinate Measuring Machines, and others.
In addition to in-house testing, RANDYS employs inspectors at various supplier facilities to confirm that steel and other products being produced meet or exceed the engineering drawings and metallurgy specs engineered by RANDYS engineers. Once in-house for assembly, those products are again tested.
With products manufactured throughout the world, Hollingsworth said all are assembled at the Everett facility, a 28,000-square-foot headquarters that has recently grown with the acquisition of adjacent buildings that will be used for product assembly and inventory. “We have our corporate headquarters, assembly, sales staff, engineering, quality control, and our service shop here in Everett.”
The five-bay shop has four technicians who provide drivetrain installations and service for a variety of vehicles, plus it is used as an engineering and product testing site for new and upgraded products.
“What sets RANDYS apart is the attention to detail, product availability, tenured staff, technical expertise, tech resources, next-day service, and quality of the products across the board,” Hollingsworth said.