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July 12, 2014

Video: Standley Systems celebrates 80th birthday



When all the lights come alive on the office printer, a document won't scan or a carefully crafted presentation refuses to print, the comic fragility of the world becomes apparent. But these situations can be pretty serious when business depends so much on the transfer of documents.

For 80 years, Standley Systems has been helping businesses by selling them quality machines, offering 24 hour customer service and optimizing the office workflow.

Standley Systems began in 1934 when Fred Standley began started a business that sold and serviced manual typewriters. Today the family-owned business is co-owned by Greg and Tim Elliot.

Since 2000, Standley Systems has been housed in Chickasha on Iowa Ave. in what used to be the Southern Oaks Church of Christ. Since the mid-1970s, printers and copiers have remained at the core of Standley's business, Greg Elliot, co-owner and chief operating officer

Standley's helps businesses reach their optimal efficiency by reducing the number of machines to reach optimal efficiency. This reduces cost to electricity. However, putting ink on paper continues to be Standley Systems economic driver.

Greg Elliot began working summers at Standley Systems when he was 12. Greg cleaned the school typewriters that were serviced during the summer. This was when students learned on manual and electric typewriters.

"Dad was always my hero. I wanted to be just like him," Greg said. "I never thought seriously about working anywhere else."

Greg began working at Standley Systems full time in 1991.

Greg said Standley Systems try to run their company based on personal values, specifically Christian values and following the golden rule.

"We're not perfect but we try to keep it about family and character," Greg said.

Standley's currently has offices in six cities around Oklahoma: Ardmore, Lawton, Duncan, Oklahoma City and at home in Chickasha. He said that even though it would be easier sometimes to operate out of a warehouse in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, Chickasha is home.

Another of Standley's goals is to give back to the Chickasha community by involvement in the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce, the Chickasha Public School Foundation, Economic Development, the Festival of Light to name a few. Greg said the business promotes having a voice and getting involved in the Chickasha community.

As Standley's celebrates its longevity, Greg said that he wants to give credit where credit is due.

"The wonderful men and women who have worked with us through the years, who have shown up and worked every day. People and faith is what we attribute our success to," Greg said.

Tim Elliot, co-owner of Standley Systems, said his current job is his dream job.

"This is all I ever wanted to do and it's all I've ever done. It's fun and challenging and I get to help people succeed … My job is to make sure I try to create opportunities for employees to win," Tim said.

Building relationships with businesses is essential to Standley Systems, Tim said.

Standley Systems offers their services in order to help companies meet their goals.

"We only win when everyone wins," Tim said.

Standley Systems has helped businesses save hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, the company saved the University of Central Oklahoma $528,000. Using UCO in another example of how Standley Systems helps their customers efficiency, Standley's discovered the school only needed 450 to 500 devices rather than 1,500.

Overall, Standley Systems rarely loses a customer, Tim, who prefers to refer to his interactions with businesses as "relationships," said.

"When we lose a customer [it was because] they became a customer rather than a relationship," Tim said.

Former employees have had nothing bad to say about the company, Tim said. He said that the feedback he has received indicated that employers have always felt they were treated fairly, even if the relationship was not a good fit. Tim said that there have been cases where former employers have recommended Standley System at their new workplace. Tim said this gives him the greatest satisfaction.

"It's not about what you take, it's about what you give," Tim said.

Tim said that he's traveled the world and never found a place he'd rather live than Chickasha.

"I can't imagine being in a town where you don't wave at someone you know going down the street," Tim said. "I think we all enjoy understanding people and seeing if we can meet their needs."

Many employees of Standley Systems have stayed 30 plus years. One such case is Rick Jobe, who has been with Standley System for over 35 years.

A service training specialist, Jobe trains employees how to service and maintain machines. He is unique in that he is a certified trainer that works for a dealership.

The training starts in a classroom setting with lectures and PowerPoint presentations before evolving to hands on mechanical training and then the real test which is making supervised service calls.

Servicing the machines is crucial for Standley Systems because, as Jobe said, "We won't sell anything that we don't work on."

Not everything that Jobe teaches has to do with the machine, he said. Customer service skills are vital.

"I learned that if you don't take care of the customer there wouldn't be anymore customers," Jobe said.

Jobe, who says he "backwards commutes" from his home in Oklahoma City, said he is constantly learning because the industry changes so much.

Besides moving from typewriters to all-in-one machines that copy, print, fax and scan, the output standards have also gotten more sophisticated, Jobe said.

Whereas at one time, a legible black and white printout was just fine, now output may need to be in color, stapled and double-sided.

Because the typical life cycle of a machine is about five years, the field is constantly changing.

Jobe said that he has stayed with Standley Systems because "they're a great bunch of people who have treated me as part of the family." Jobe said that he's seen employees go through family illnesses and the company still treats them like human beings.

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