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Service Center of the Year

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Jemison Metals


Jemison Metals says it believes its customer service, support and retention is driven by its ability to manage a part better than anyone else in the industry. Jemison’s stated goal is to “excel in the basics” by providing accurate inventories, a high-quality of product, on-time delivery and personal service. Jemison said it is continuously driving waste out of the supply chain. The results have been a 35-percent growth in tonnage in 2014 vs. 2013 and a 28-percent growth in revenue, allowing Jemison to finish in rankings as one of the top 50 service centers in the United States. Jemison said this was achieved through organic growth, significantly better than what the industry was able to average. The Birmingham, Ala.-based company’s technological innovation has allowed it to be successful at driving waste out of the supply chain. In fact, Jemison strives to understand every cost associated with the supply chain. At the company, administration and staff ask themselves how they can possibly start to work on eliminating or reducing costs if they don’t understand them and how they are intermingled? Although it may sound simple, the company said it was surprised so many in the industry either didn’t know or didn’t recognize the importance of understanding all associated costs with precision. While experiencing record growth, Jemison saw a 21-percent reduction in its days sales outstanding (DSO), and an 8-percent reduction in its inventory. Jemison said it did not experience a single customer default last year. “These metrics are a testament to the A+ customer base we are working with that seem to be gravitating to the innovation that we are providing,” Jemison executives said. Jemison Metals is a leading supplier of carbon flat-rolled products that wins bids, its executives said, by driving out inefficiencies and returning enduring value by finding lasting cost reductions throughout its customers’ supply chain.

Klein Steel Service Inc.

Klein Steel Service Inc. said it is on a roll and doesn’t intend to stop. According to data provided by the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI), weight shipped by service centers in 2014 increased 4.2 percent over 2013. Comparably, Klein Steel increased its weight shipped by 13.8 percent—over three times the industry average. This corresponded to a 13-percent increase in top line sales as well. Accordingly, Rochester, N.Y.-based Klein Steel enjoyed its largest year ever in terms of weight shipped and revenue generated. In 2014, Klein Steel retained 100 percent of its top 200 accounts and 99 percent of its top 400 accounts. In addition, Klein gained an incremental $3.7 million in revenue from customers it did not serve in 2013.
In nuclear energy, the company’s primary emerging market, Klein increased its revenue tenfold. Due to its partnership model, dedicated in-house account management team and continuous process improvement initiatives, Klein Steel once again saved its largest customer over $400,000—which equates to millions of dollars saved by a single company in the past few years alone.  As highlighted in a 2014 customer survey, the top three reasons why customers do business with Klein Steel are great customer service, fast/on-time delivery and rapid quote response time. These are three service-oriented activities that differentiate Klein in a commoditized market. In 2014, Klein Steel won the American Marketing Association Pinnacle award, a gold Stevie from the American Business Awards, and the Rochester Business Journal Best of the Web silver—all for its newly launched website. Year over year, website visitors increased over 50 percent. Klein Steel’s main technological improvements in 2014 were centered on data and information flow in order to streamline and improve operations. Also throughout 2014, Klein reduced operating expenses, maintained an on-time delivery performance of 90 percent and achieved a record quality goal of under 1,000 defects per million (DFM).

MidWest Materials Inc.

MidWest Materials Inc. believes its performance results for last year are among the best in the industry. In both 2013 and 2014, the Perry, Ohio-based company experienced no customer defaults, significant past dues or bankruptcies. MidWest Materials is a leading steel service center, supplying customers throughout North America with hot-rolled, hot-rolled pickled and oiled, coated and cold-rolled steel products. Just three years ago, it celebrated its sixtieth anniversary with the completion of a multimillion-dollar expansion. MidWest Materials said the warehousing and processing facility in Perry is home to the largest Leveltek International LLC stretch leveling system in North America. The distributor uses corrective levelers, slitters, shears, an on-site testing laboratory, direct rail access and a dedicated fleet of trucks. Since assuming the chief executive officer position in 2004, Brian Robbins has led MidWest Materials to record profits numerous times. MidWest Materials said its size allows executives to be involved with every customer. The customer service team learns about the customer’s business and specific needs, consults with mills to determine the best materials to meet requirements, and determines the best in-house processes. Any customer complaints are reviewed by a team from multiple departments, with a timely response and action. MidWest Materials has a history of continued investment in its property, facility, systems and operations to maintain the highest levels of safety, efficiency, quality and delivery.
This is part of continued multimillion-dollar investments that include upgrades to existing processing equipment; new green, energy-efficient lighting throughout the 240,000-square-foot facility and offices; new cranes to decrease loading and unloading time on production lines, rail cars and trucks; upgrades to the in-house testing lab; additions such as in integrated bar coding system, nuclear gauging system and stenciling system; continued improvements to its website and upgrades to the company’s information technology system; and office renovations.

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. enjoys a customer return rate of over 95 percent. This is a reflection, executives said, of its commitment in providing not only the exact metals that a customer needs exactly when they need it, but, along with that, the very best customer service in the business. Los Angeles-based Reliance said it achieves this by building strong and lasting partnerships with its customers, suppliers and communities. Reliance takes the time to understand customers’ business needs, and then creates tailored solutions that result in the mutual benefits of operational efficiency and overall profitability. Examples range from establishing overseas offices to facilitate a customer’s supply chain abroad to bundling multiple processing services across different Reliance service centers to deliver a more finished end product. A major tenet of Reliance’s strategy is to grow organically by investing in existing operations. To that end, Reliance financed capital expenditures of $168 million in 2013 and $190 million in 2014. Well over half of each year’s budget goes directly to the purchase of machinery and equipment, which speaks to Reliance’s dedication to ensuring its family of companies operates the most cutting-edge equipment. Not only does this lead to increased skills, knowledge, and prestige for employees, but it also drives Reliance’s ability to consistently deliver the best product possible to customers. Reliance also devotes approximately 15 percent of its annual budget to improve its delivery fleet, just-in-time delivery being another element of customer service. Ongoing improvement in this department is critical to the success of the many customers who require their custom orders within 24 hours.


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