3PS Inc.

Pushing the Possibilities of Human Production
Written by: 
Dale J Rappaneau Jr.
Produced by: 
Sean O'Reilly

Founded in 1999, 3PS Inc. (3PS) specializes in manufacturing sensors and systems for hazardous environments and mission critical applications. 3PS exceeds where other companies do not dare venture, and the company does it with a passion befit for such a daring establishment.

“We do a lot of custom engineering or specific solutions for load measurement, as well as having standard products for load measurement,” says Todd Perry, president and general manager of 3PS. “So, we have standard products that fit different applications, but what really sets us apart are our customizations and modifications. One of our new customers was working with a primary competitor, but the competitor wouldn’t modify the product to meet specific customer issues; 3PS has the capability and history to adapt our products in these situations.”

This is where 3PS shines. The concept of adaptation runs deep through 3PS, as the company’s numerous products are designed to adapt to environments; the adaptive practices enable modifications on a per-client basis. Together, these two combine to create a corporate model ripe with growth within a niche-driven industry.

“Our niche is critical load measurement in specialized applications, and those specialized applications go across cranes, oil and gas, marine and aerospace,” says Perry. “We’ve done some other applications well outside those four fields, but those are our primary.”

Parental Freedom

In 2011, after 12 years of operating independently, 3PS was purchased by Pason Systems Corporation (Pason). According to Perry, as anyone who has lived through a buy-out and/or merger can attest to, it’s a hectic time that can leave a company feeling restricted or limited; however, he is proud to note neither has happened.

“I have to be able to do anything in the company necessary to change its character,” says Perry. “The fact that I have a group of people used to being very agile, in terms of a product coming across that they haven’t seen before and getting it to a customer and having it work, is a great starting point for significant cultural change. But I’m also proud of the fact that Pason and Marcel Kessler, our CEO, allow me to operate the business like it’s an independent business.”

For a creative team like 3PS, that is crucial. Perry goes on to note that too many restrictions or limitations could hinder the company’s ability to create modifications for customers, thus negating a source of business. Instead, 3PS’ parent company provides the company with a solid foundation for doing what the team does best: manufacturing sensors and modifying products for hazardous environments.

Moreover, having a parent company also provides 3PS with some additional motivation.

“Prior to me taking over in 2012, it was operated as a small business,” says Perry. “With Pason buying the company and turning it into a publicly traded company, we needed to satisfy the shareholders and meet certain requirements. There has been a recent focus on lean initiatives, as well as a focus on new product introductions and innovation.”

New products, new innovations, the freedom to create without corporate barricades; it sounds like 3PS is very much enjoying life under Pason’s umbrella.

Upcoming Projects

From its freedom with Pason comes the company’s latest product, SD-50, a human interface and system controller for 3PS’ sensors. “Based upon microprocessor architecture that allows us to have a lot of configurability without a long lead time,” Perry explains.

And again it’s important to note the focus of configurability, as it is without a doubt the leading drive behind 3PS and its product development. The team prides itself on customers being able to utilize the most effective means within the respective environment for getting a job done. Therefore, by having numerous options available, 3PS helps other companies deliver on both project quality and efficiency. 

“We have another product launch that will occur in the first quarter of 2014, around our oil and gas sensor,” Perry explains, providing an example of how 3PS delivers new products to meet its goal. “It’s called the Integrated Turns Torque Sub, which will incorporate a capability for wireless turns. When you’re making a casing, as you’re screwing the pipe together you have to count the number of turns. In the past, counting the turns was done with a chalk mark or another piece of physical equipment that isn’t really accurate. This provides the accuracy without having additional equipment.”

The decrease of additional equipment thus decreases the amount of effort other companies have to put into projects, which can decrease injuries on the job when dealing with hazardous locations. The less one has to carry in and out of the hazardous area, the less time one spends around the hazards.

As a medium-sized company of 60 employees, 3PS’ biggest difficulty, according to Perry, is ensuring the company’s workforce remains cross-functional. Often various departments must help each other out, and if one is lagging behind, the whole company can feel it. However, like the company’s products, 3PS Inc. adapts and overcomes the challenges offered by a small company.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
M&H Machining Inc.