RSP Inc.

Contract manufacturing with family values
Written by: 
Tom Faunce
Produced by: 
John Carioti

When Norbert Ryan noticed the success that his sons Robert and John were experiencing with their startup business, he decided to join in the venture. The company originally operated out of the family’s basement but by this time they had a small shop. Norbert helped to invest in new equipment and expand the business. The year was 1964 and at the time the company was known as Ryan Screen Printing Inc. More than 50 years later, the company has grown into one of the highest quality contract manufacturing firms in the Midwest. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the company is now called RSP Inc.

In 2005, RSP ownership was passed down to the next generation. Mike Ryan and his brother Paul have broadened the company’s offerings to include plastic and rubber molding, as well as electronics. “When the company began, we were creating real estate signs,” says Ryan. “We’ve now developed into a full contract, turnkey manufacturer.” RSP targets numerous markets such as consumer products, industrial, medical and automotive.

Worldwide operations

In addition to the corporate headquarters in Milwaukee, the company operates three controlled facilities in China which focus on complex assemblies. RSP employs more than 100 people between the four locations. “15 percent of our employees are engineers in China,” explains Ryan. “That allows us to support customers in a way that many other companies can’t.”

RSP opened its first facility in China in 2005 to establish a presence for quality control, ordering and testing with Asian partners. The 60,000 square-foot facility has  4 full assembly lines focused on high efficiency and turnover with an inventory time-management system.

Multiple services

A diverse target market has enabled RSP to not only survive, but to thrive during the economic downturn of the past decade. “During the recession we actually continued to grow,” says Ryan. “The fact that we are so well-diversified across multiple markets creates insulation for us in regards to a single market decline.”

As a leader in the contract manufacturing industry, RSP creates many products catering to multiple markets. The company’s domestic and Asian engineering teams have the experience and expertise to bring each product from concept to realization. RSP specializes in plastic injection molding, membrane switch & touch screen technology, circuit boards, silicone keypads, printed graphics and wire harnesses. All RSP products are fully guaranteed to perform as designed.

RSP offers world-class service and pricing. All three of the company’s facilities in China rely on U.S. standards for lean manufacturing. This operation lowers production costs for the company, which allows RSP to pass along the savings to its customers. Ryan and his brother split their time overseeing the company’s operations overseas.

RSP offers a wide range of electrical and mechanical engineering capabilities. With 12 full-time engineers at the company’s facilities in China, the employees bring a combined 50+ years' experience of silicone and plastic molding to the design team. RSP offers basic mechanical design at no additional charge. The design team at RSP can build a model from a sample or two-dimensional drawing. The company also provides design assistance in the U.S. for situations when timing is critical.

The operation at RSP will create a method for mass production of a product. When a product is unfit for high-volume production, the engineering team will study a sample and update the design to reduce assembly and cost. A prototype is then submitted to the client for approval.

An example of this tooling put into practice resulted when a client required an outdoor design for a handheld remote control. Thanks to the amount of experience RSP engineers possess with this type of equipment, the team was able to develop a silicone rubber user interface and gasket that is able to withstand outdoor elements.

Innovative solutions

After 10 years in the industry, Ryan says that he looks forward to working on new products every day and the challenges they present. “Every product is custom and new. Every day I take phone calls learning about a new invention or redesign of a customer’s current product,” says Ryan. “We’re constantly working with new and exciting things that in some cases have never been done before.”

With RSP experiencing a 50 percent growth in business this year, Ryan anticipates continued growth for the company in next few years. “We have enough projects and back orders to continue to grow substantially in the next year,” says Ryan. “We just have to continue to execute our plan and to treat our customers well. We will continue to provide a great product and service at a reasonable price like we always have.”

As a business built on family values, integrity and trust, RSP Inc. will continue to display these values as the company keeps growing and offering integrative manufacturing services.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Krenz & Hannan