Orion’s state-of-the-art headquarters in Baton Rouge.
Story courtesy Louisiana Economic Development
In 2001, Magnetrol International, a leader in the instrumentation industry, launched Orion Instruments in Baton Rouge. The company specializes in custom engineering and manufacturing instrumentation focused on magnetic-level indication (MLI), primarily for the purpose of measuring and controlling liquid levels. Like its constellation namesake, Orion took direct aim at the global market and armed itself with high-quality products and a unique focus on customer service.
From chemical plants and refineries to nuclear power and wastewater applications, Orion’s MLIs inhabit a diverse range of industrial facilities. Orion products are built to withstand some of the world’s toughest conditions, from Arctic cold and searing deserts to steaming jungles and harsh marine environments. In the past 14 years, Orion Instruments has grown from a small startup to a leading global brand operating from a new 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. Over 65% of its sales are overseas, and the company boasts products in use in 32 countries.
“From the beginning, we knew that companies in the global market were looking for a high-quality American product that enhanced facility operations,” said Orion General Manager-Director Don Sanders. “To reach our targets, we decided to travel to where they were, and understand their culture and business model. Then, we brought them here to meet our team in Louisiana and show them how our company does business. Our efforts and attention to detail, along with superior products, helped us win over customers.”
At the same time, management realized the importance of recruiting a globally diverse group of employees to help provide customer service based on different needs for each culture and region. Today, Orion possesses a sales and service team with members who speak seven languages, including Arabic, Hindi, Malaysian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese.
“It’s not just about having the capacity to convert literature and interpret contracts, although that’s very important, too,” said Craig Carroll, the company’s global sales and marketing manager. “The ability to relate to global customers, understand cultural nuances and communicate effectively is really what’s critical to our success. That’s why we recruit globally and from across the United States, as well as from Louisiana State University’s engineering school here in Baton Rouge, which routinely turns out strong candidates.”
To fuel its growth domestically and internationally, the company has utilized a variety of incentives offered by Louisiana Economic Development, such as the Industrial Tax Exemption and Enterprise Zone programs, and the Research and Development Tax Credit.
“From the beginning, not just after we became successful, LED has been there to offer assistance,” Sanders said. “With their help and incentives, we’ve been able to expedite our growth, hire additional employees and build a new facility. Their partnership has been key to our success.”
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Control Magazine, a widely read and highly respected publication that promotes excellence in process automation, announced in January that Orion Instruments has received its eighth consecutive award for No. 1 Magnetic Level Indicator and its fifth consecutive award for No. 1 Magnetostrictive Level Transmitter. Based on an annual survey conducted by Control Magazine where their readers are asked to identify the best solution providers in different categories, Orion Instruments has remained the clear choice for the readers in the level measurement classification.
Originally published in the first quarter 2016 edition of 10/12 Industry Report. Read more from this issue at 1012industryreport.com.