About Webster Scale
Webster Scale Service was started in the mid 1960’s by Russell and Doris Shoemaker. Their role in business began as a simple scale repair business that repaired and serviced all makes of small and medium capacity scales. These scales were all mechanical scales. Our primary service coverage area was South Dakota and North Dakota. All work was performed by Russell and one employee, with Doris answering the phone and performing bookkeeping duties.
As our company entered the 1970’s, we started installing a few new livestock scales, and some new truck scales. As we encountered these new installations, we started to hire development contractors and concrete contractors to develop the scale sites, and pour the concrete for the scale foundations. Business was good, projects were being completed, with the exception of occasional dimensional mistakes made by concrete crews. When these mistakes were made it was basically a no fault situation. The contractors we were using simply did not understand how tight the tolerances are on the scale designs that they were constructing the foundations for. Our company was not large enough to have a supervisor on site at all times, subsequently many times when we got there with the scale, the piers or the anchor bolts were installed incorrectly, and there was no chance of getting the cement contractor to come back and fix their work. These situations left us in uncomfortable positions with our customers from time to time. At the same time this was happening the digital weight indicator was invented and the scale industry was about to change dramatically. With the invention of the digital weight indicator, there were a lot of scale companies in business that had no experience with anything digital, and Russell was one of them.
In 1976, Russell asked Roger if he would come and work with him to help expedite the learning curve with the new digital equipment, and improve new sales. In 1977 the company was reorganized as a partnership with Roger and Russell Shoemaker as partners, three employees, and Doris running the office. At this time, the company was engaged in selling and servicing motor truck scales and livestock scales in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota. We were selling a couple of different brands of scales, because we were having trouble with quality control issues coming from the factory.
In 1984, there was a major change in the way that Webster Scale Service operated. After much deliberation and lengthy research, Roger and Russell decided to start up our own concrete crew to construct our own concrete foundations. This new service that we were providing greatly enhanced our business. Another major enhancement to our business was the fact that we started manufacturing our own line of truck and livestock scales. These two key enhancements were a great boost to the quality of our products, and the prosperity of our business. We now controlled every facet of new construction, and our destiny with our customers.
In 1987 Webster Scale Service was once again reorganized. Webster Scale Inc was incorporated in the Great State of South Dakota. These were very prosperous times for the company. As the 80’s were waning and the 90’s were starting, Roger’s sons began working with the business as they completed their education. In the 1990’s there was a major scale sales boom. We took complete advantage of this fact. Our business and our coverage area grew immensely during this time. We sold and installed livestock, motor truck, and railroad track scales in a corridor from Montana to Wisconsin, and Canadian border to Texas. All of our projects were sold turn key. Several projects in Texas and Kansas involved a lot of demolition and excavation. When we were awarded these projects, we had a new decision to make. We decided to invest in the machinery to allow us to continue performing our projects turn key. Excavators, trucks, trailers and other demolition equipment were purchased to complete these projects. By the end of the 1990’s Webster Scale Inc was in full swing completing projects in Ethanol Plants, Beef Packing Plants, Sale Barns, Grain Handling facilities, and Gasification Plants from Friona, Texas to Bottineau, North Dakota.
With the turn of the century, Webster Scale Inc was starting to feel a sudden decrease of new scale sales and service. We attributed a large share of this slow down to the fact that grain handling facilities were being regionalized throughout the area. As farmers started purchasing semi-tractor trailer units, elevators started closing down their small facilities, and gave farmers incentives to haul their grain to large handling facilities. Webster Scale Inc was now faced with a new dilemma.
Instead of downsizing our equipment fleet and laying people off, we decided to steer a portion of our equipment and people in the direction of the heavy highway and commercial construction areas. The first few years were a learning curve for our company, but our passion for completing top quality projects, and our dedication for the satisfaction of our customers blazed the way for us during this time. One of the larger projects that we worked on during this time frame was the Eastern Dakota Expressway from Groton, SD to Summit, SD. To date we have worked on every phase of that project. One of the key facts that helped us through this project was our ability to listen, learn, and work together with the Department of Transportation personnel. Another key factor in this project was our ability to hire quality people, and to promote from within our company. The most important factor in this success is that we are continuing to increase our efficiency, by better tracking our job costs for each project that we work on. We feel that by continuing the growth of our employee’s knowledge and skills, and improving the efficiency of our operation, we can sustain continued growth, and profitability of our company.