Bob "Tex" Svajda: LTL International was founded in 1984, but its roots go back much further. David A. Walker, the owner, is a third-generation blind manufacturer. His grandparents started fabricating horizontal blinds in 1962, and David grew up building blinds and working on his company's machinery.
Over the years he became aware of the inherent problems with the blind machinery of the time. When he opened LTL International, the goal was to make machinery that was more reliable, easier to operate and would reduce down time. The 21 employees who work at our 22,000-square-foot facility in Dallas, TX, work together as a team with these same goals as the primary objective.
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of the country do you service?
Svajda: As a machinery manufacturer, we primarily deal with new and existing window treatment fabricators. The popularity of two-inch horizontal blinds has many companies interested in fabricating their own blinds. To assist these new fabricators, LTL offers comprehensive blind fabrication seminars, complete factory set up and on-site set up and training.
D&WC: How has your segment of the industry changed since you first began?
Svajda: As two-inch horizontal blinds started making their comeback, many older companies went out to their storage sheds, took the canvas tarp off their idle two-inch machines, dusted them off, greased them up and began making blinds. Unfortunately not only were their machines outdated, but most fabricators reverted back to the method of fabrication that was being used 40 years ago. This antiquated labor-intensive process does not work well for the fabricators of today. LTL saw this problem immediately and began developing automated machinery for the two-inch blind fabricators.
As demand for these blinds continue to increase, the need to be competitive also increases. The second most expensive component in a two-inch blind is the labor to fabricate it. As labor becomes more costly, and quality labor becomes more elusive, the benefits of automation become more and more a necessity to the fabricator committed to success.
D&WC: Where do you see your company five years from now? Are there additional areas within the industry that you would like to get involved in?
Svajda: The answer to this question is a question: Where will the window treatment industry be in five years? LTL knows that we don't control the window fashion trends, we simply react to the market and create machines that make it easier and more efficient to fabricate those products.
We do know the trend towards automation will not stop, and as we focus on automating the entire fabrication process we know that this technology will be applied to the machinery we develop for the window treatments of the future.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
Svajda: LTL is the world leader in automated two-inch horizontal blind fabricating machinery. LTL machinery is constantly evolving, and our modular co-designed machines allow our customers to react to the fabrication challenges created by the constant flow of new slat materials by simply adding these new adaptations to their existing LTL machinery. Our customers know their LTL machinery will never become antiquated.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Svajda: Our commitment to making the absolute best machinery we know how and listening to our customers are our two biggest keys to success. We don't build blinds with our machinery all day, our customers do and they are our field engineers. They inform us on how our machines are performing, which allows us to monitor the quality and durability of our products. They inform us of the new challenges they encounter and we create or adapt our machinery to overcome these challenges.
This open line of communication and the respect we have for our customer knowledge is a major factor in our success. Because of them, in most cases, we are able to create solutions before most companies even know a problem exists.
D&WC: What distinguishes you from the competition?
Svajda: LTL has developed machinery and programs designed for both new and expanding fabricators. The need to be more competitive with price, delivery time or quality control is motivating companies to turn to automation to fabricate their own two-inch blinds at an astounding rate.
The fact that LTL machinery is designed to expand with the growth of the company allows all size fabricators to purchase machinery that fits their current needs and expand the machine capabilities as their businesses grow. Our "No Penalty Pricing" allows our customers to do this without paying any more than what it would have cost for the more advanced machinery initially.
D&WC: Do you educate your customers?
Svajda: The fabrication of two-inch blinds is quite complex, and there is a definite need for training. To our knowledge, LTL is the only company in the Untied States that offers a free two-day blind fabricating seminar. These classes are held in Dallas, TX, twice a month on average.
For those companies that cannot arrange to travel to Dallas, we also offer complete factory set up. LTL can send our technicians to their locations, and turn their empty spaces into efficient fabrication facilities. We also offer training in the use of the fabrication software provided by Suz's Software Inc.
LTL International Inc.
5326 W. Ledbetter
Dallas, TX 75236
Fax: (972) 709-7674