Slice was founded in 2008 by TJ Scimone as a way to help fund long-term care for his autistic son.
With tens of millions of units sold worldwide, Slice is making cutting better, safer and more exciting by integrating new technology, visionary functionality and design.
Distributed in more than 30 countries, Slice ceramic-blade cutting tools are used by more than half the Fortune 1000 to reduce injuries and lower costs. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Slice has sales offices and warehouses in the USA, Germany, Korea, and the United Kingdom.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about how your patent-pending ceramic-blades help reduce injuries and lower costs for your customers?
TJ: Most people are familiar with the ceramics used in kitchen cutlery — we utilize that same material, Zirconium Oxide, to produce a small, replaceable patent-pending ceramic-blade that’s designed to be used exclusively with our award-winning handles, optimizing both blade function and user-ergonomics.
Our proprietary blade manufacturing process combines a unique sharpening angle and thicker ceramic material, resulting in a very unique blade that’s safer to the touch vs. metal, and requires pressure to initiate the cut — via our handles. Hence, general blade handling and blade-replacement with Slice ceramic blades is infinitely safer vs. those same activities with traditional metal blades, yet still allows for a wide range of cutting applications.
This includes safer cutting across all industries and materials – from simply opening corrugated boxes in warehouses, trimming excess material off injected plastic components, applying labeling on commercial airplanes, slicing through materials used in high-performance race cars, to more complex cutting tasks in the manufacturing of everything from paper to satellites.
Currently more than half the Fortune 1000 incorporate our products somewhere in their operations. The incentive comes from both the material side of the equation as well as from health and safety benefits. Our products deliver less waste and reduced downtime due to the fact our blades last up to 10 times longer than Steel. More importantly, our clients have reduced costs in their facilities by lowering the risk of lacerations through eliminating dangerous metal.
Additionally, Slice ceramic blades never rust, are non-magnetic, non-sparking, non-conductive, non-corrosive, chemically inert, and free of any oil coating unlike metal utility blades.
Safety is the biggest motivator for our customers – from DuPont to General Electric to Westinghouse, we receive requests daily from Fortune 1000 companies asking us to assist them in eliminating dangerous metal blades from their facilities in favor of our more cost effective, safer Slice ceramic-blade technology.
BusinessInterviews.com: What was one of the biggest challenges you encountered during the early stages of development?
TJ: You can’t simply duplicate a metal blade in ceramic material and achieve what we have created with our current products. There’s a tremendous amount of engineering required on not only the blades and handles individually, but there’s also an incredible amount of engineering required on the combination of the handles and the blades working together in order to produce the desired balance of safer-usage and cutting capability. Even today, for our next generation of products that are currently under development, we spend the majority of our time finding the right balance between handle and blade through trial and error and what seems like endless prototypes.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the art of reimagining everyday objects, where there seems little room for innovation?
TJ: Anything we find on the market today can be improved upon through the combination of a better understanding of the end-user experience coupled with superior engineering and design. Even with our own product, we continue to innovative and make little improvements – we’re constantly making small changes in order to improve the product and user experience.
It’s easy to go to market with a product that falls short — lack of understanding of the intended audience, poor design or poor engineering and pressure to ship something for the sake of revenue.
Our goal, which is much harder to achieve, is produce something that combines the right formula of understanding the usage requirements with the right engineering and the right design, resulting in a product that improves the quality of peoples lives and survives the test of time.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on how you’ve been working to raise awareness and donate money to fund autism research?
TJ: I am very passionate about this subject, due to my son. Whatever we’ve done so far certainly isn’t enough. It’s a subject that motivates me to get out of bed in the morning and gets me through the rough days. I like to think the best is yet to come in this area of our business and my personal life. We currently donate 1% of sales to various autism-related causes, with a focus on supporting the efforts of Dr. Antonio Hardan, the Director of the Autism Research Department at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. You can read more about our efforts and donate to Dr. Hardan’s research on our website at www.sliceproducts.com
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s one marketing approach that’s worked well for you? How important is social media to your overall strategy?
TJ: Our customer-base is primarily Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) managers at Fortune 1000 companies, tasked with making facilities a safer place for employees. For the most part, they’re not the Facebook and Twitter crowd, so our social media focus is a little different. We’ve found advertising and promoting case histories on LinkedIn to be an incredible tool for reaching out to our target market of EHS managers.
Additionally, unlike traditional business units, EHS managers tend to share information with each other, even among competing companies, with the end goal of reducing injuries. Accordingly word-of-mouth has been huge for us, resulting in distribution to more than 30 countries. We receive daily requests from all over the world to purchase our products to reduce the risk of injuries and lower costs – even from countries as far away as Brazil, China, and India – where Fortune 1000 customers operate facilities that maintain the same safety standards as they do here in North America.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you tell our readers a bit about the upcoming launch of your next family of safety cutters that will take “safer cutting” to the next level?
TJ: We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest engineers and designers on the planet, making the job of product development a very enjoyable experience. This, combined with a fair amount of luck along the way, has permitted us to accumulate a world-class customer base. That same customer base is now driving the innovation and requirements for our next generation of products, allowing us to incorporate our Slice ceramic technology with products that will further reduce the risk of injuries in the work-place, something that makes life better for everyone. That’s pretty exciting and, for us, a very worthwhile use of our time.