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MCN Profile: Source One Metals

Ease of Movement

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Precision Millwright & Machine improves efficiency in Source One Metals’ new facility.

A new building, production equipment and design with assistance from Precision Millwright & Machine set up Source One Metals for efficiency, profitability, expansion and success. Source One Metals relocated last year in order to achieve company goals, improve satisfaction and meet the changing needs of customers. 

S1M, formerly in Sterling Heights, Mich., moved to its new location in Rochester Hills, Mich., in October 2021. The planned move was made to decrease overhead costs, obtain more space, allow for expansion and improve production flow and material handling according to co-owner and CEO Jay Jones.

Source One Metals is a distributor specializing in nonferrous products, including aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, magnesium, stainless, nickel alloys and titanium. It also offers production cutting. 

“We had run out of space and we couldn’t expand due to local codes and ordinances,” says Jones of the company’s previous site, which consisted of four in-common industrial units.

Company executives considered several new locations before purchasing the current building, which contained an overhead crane and office space. Their decision was solidified after hiring turnkey company PMM of Villa Park, Ill., to assist with the process. PMM was referred to S1M by an Amada Marvel Inc. machinery representative.

“Tony was on from the get-go,” says S1M co-owner Kyle Boes of Tony Granata, co-owner and vice president of PMM. “He walked through the building, gave us his vision and we all signed off on it. It was a big step up for us.”

Boes says PMM was selected to assist with the move and production design after S1M executives toured the operations of Edward W. Duffy & Co., in Madison Heights, Mich., which had used the services of PMM for its move.

PMM moves, installs, maintains and repairs the production machinery it manufactures and sells including conveyors, racking systems and saws. Granata says PMM used a “straight-line order fulfillment system” to set up production lines so that production including rack placement, material handling, outfeed systems and control cabinets are conveniently placed to prevent operators from strain or having to walk distances.

“We looked at every single thing from the receiving process to the material flow process to the production process to the loading process to make sure we picked the right building and right equipment to fill that building and make it safer and the most efficient scenario possible,” says Granata.

PMM installed and configured the electric power and designed the production flow, taking into consideration S1M’s current and future needs, making the process more efficient for operators with less lifting.

“All of these things were designed in a way to remove steps from the process to help make S1M more profitable,” Granata says.

The entire process from planning to implementation took around three months at a cost of approximately $300,000 allowing S1M to start filling customer orders within days after the move. The vacuum lift, hi-lo forklift, custom rollers, racks and conveyors streamlined production making it less labor-intensive, safer and faster. 

Boes says the move went smoothly due to the planning and preparation provided by PMM. “We had a plan in place and we knew exactly what we were doing at the launch.”

He says the plant was back to normal operation within two weeks, despite the horror stories they had heard from other companies who had engaged in moves. 
Jones says the move and changes allowed S1M “the opportunity to safely store and expand inventory, process material, improve flow and throughput leading to more customers, revenue and on down the line.”

Others in the operation were also impressed for a variety of reasons. Business Development Manager Bobby Cousineau says the changes not only improved safety, but created a lift for the company’s employees. 

“The morale boost is an intangible thing people may not think of that has huge impact,” Jones says.

Despite labor shortages, Cousineau said S1M has retained employees and added more. “A good environment keeps people on board,” he says. “It helps when you have a safe, nice facility that you would want to work in.”

According to Office Manager Jennifer Lorentzen S1M has added six employees, four of whom are operators. In addition, the company added a shear, additional saws and a tracking system.

Boes says order processing has increased around 15 tickets a day amounting to an overall production increase of up to 30 percent. The improvements have prevented line shutdowns and production bottlenecks that are no longer caused by material overlaps and congestion.

“We’ve gained more business in speed alone that we would not have been able to do at the other facility,” Boes says.

Jones says space in the new building has quickly filled in with additional equipment and inventory. “The horizontal space is getting filled. We’re at a point where we are going to have to go vertical.”

The relocation has positioned S1M, on a solid foundation with the ability to take advantage of new business opportunities, particularly in stainless steel.

“We were able to pursue some business that we previously did not have room for,” Boes says. “Now material is properly stored and we are able to get larger quantities at better pricing.”

Boes says S1M purchased mill-direct stock to place in inventory, particularly in stainless steel, to meet customer needs made difficult by supply issues caused by the war in Ukraine and other economic factors.

“We have been fortunate to have a loyal existing customer base that we have been able to supply during these difficult times in the supply chain,” says Jones. “We’re able to bring more material in to keep up with demand.”

He estimates that business has increased more than 20 percent compared to last year. “It’s hard to put your finger on exact numbers because of the rising and then declining cost of materials,” Jones says. “Based on our history, things are looking good for us. Our future looks very bright.” 

The turnkey approach from Precision Millwright and Machine allowed Source One Metals to expedite its move. (Photo courtesy Source One Metals)