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Bastian Solutions Celebrates 70 Years and Counting

Stefanie Hardy & Bailey Ludlam | 3 November 2022

If It Rolls – We Supply It.

This was the motto of Bastian Solutions, then the E.C. Stark Co., Inc., in the 1950s. Hand trucks, casters and carts were the original material handling equipment supplied by the company, which was formed on October 31, 1952, by Elgan Stark, father-in-law of Bill Bastian Sr.

Fast forward 70 years, and Bastian Solutions continues to grow as a leading material handling automation company. Although casters and the like are no longer the heart of the business, the vision remains the same – to help companies be more efficient, better serve their clients and make the world a better place.

Fostering Innovation from Indiana

How does a small, Midwestern company supplying conventional equipment transform into a global automation systems provider? According to Bill Bastian Sr. in a recent interview, it all starts with people – hiring great employees, allowing them to try new things and treating those employees like family.

“We’ve always wanted to create a space that fostered new ideas and throughout time that’s exactly what it’s been. We have had and continue to have some very loyal and hardworking people at Bastian.”

Bill Bastian Sr. purchased the company in 1967, continuing to grow the business in Indiana and Kentucky with the addition of products such as conveyor, racking and ergonomic lifts. It was in the 1980s, however, that Bastian Solutions, then Bastian Material Handling, began its transition into more advanced automation by adding products and services to support controls and system information flow.

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The 1990s brought major changes for the company that would ultimately set the stage for where Bastian is today.  In 1992, Bill Bastian II purchased the company from his father. Leveraging the same values of “people first” and “continuous improvement,” he led the company through the addition of regional offices in the U.S., the purchase of a software company and the opening of the organization’s first international location in Bangalore, India, an office that is still growing and thriving today.

As the ‘90s transitioned into the 2000s, Bill II’s affinity for technology and innovation continued to drive the company’s growth. Bill Sr. recounted early memories of Bill II’s curiosity and love of all things technical.

“It was pretty clear to me [Bill II becoming an engineer] because he wanted to build everything from his Christmas presents and so forth. Then when he got to be about high school age, my dad had an old Falcon […] Bill took it and polished it and sanded it and put a straight pipe or flutter muffler I think […] he did all that work […] he drove it to school and all around, and it worked.”

The early 2000s included the purchase of a robotics company and the launch of Bastian Solutions’ custom automation and conveyor manufacturing groups along with further office expansions in the U.S. As the 2010s came, Bastian set its sights on international expansion into Canada, Brazil and Mexico, while continuing its strong focus on research and development. 

A Toyota Partnership

Quality people, customer service and continuous improvement – these pillars remain at the heart of the company’s growth. It was in 2016, that Bastian Solutions’ success caught the eye of Toyota Industries Corporation and in 2017, TICO acquired Bastian Solutions.

“Toyota was looking to expand into material handling, and at this point we had finished some pretty big projects and were starting to show up on the industry publications. I’m not sure how but we caught their eye,” said Bill II. “And it’s been a wonderful partnership since. With their values and structure, we knew, most importantly, that they would continue to support the community we built at Bastian.”  

In the five years since the acquisition, Bastian Solutions and the supply chain industry, in general, show no signs of slowing down. Despite challenging times through the coronavirus pandemic, the organization continues to see success which can only be attributed to the strength of its values.

The similarities between the original Toyoda Precepts and Bastian’s core values allow for an easy relationship. The two companies are in tune while strong relationships continue to forge ahead between all Toyota Industry Group companies.

bastian-solutions_iconography-redesign_core-value_master_collection-white

Making an Impact for Years to Come

Looking forward: the future is bright.

Supply chain is at the forefront with technology advancements happening faster than ever before, and as the industry’s importance sees the mainstage, there is an increase in younger generations earning degrees in supply chain and logistics fields.

As Bill Bastian Sr. explained, it all starts with people.

Bastian Solutions’ original motto might have been “If It Rolls, We Supply It,” but today’s tagline – “Engineering Your Competitive Edge” – not only speaks to the advancement of the organization and industry but the incredible people who make Bastian Solutions great.   

This week we celebrate 70 incredible years, but the best story lies ahead as the organization continues to live out the values that have made it successful from the beginning.

Author: Bailey Ludlam, Stefanie Hardy

Bailey is the Brand Marketing Manager at Bastian Solutions, based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a bachelor’s degree from Washington College and 10 years experience working in marketing and journalism. Outside of work, Bailey enjoys spending time with her husband and two children and can usually be found hiking, running or creating with LEGO bricks. 

Stefanie is the Director of Marketing at Bastian Solutions, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a background in advertising and marketing and has been with the company since 2010. Outside of work, Stefanie enjoys spending time with her husband and two children as well as running, hiking and reading.

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