Best factory

Doralco Architectural Metals Production Facility, Alsip, Ill.

When Doralco Architectural Metals decided to expand its growing line of architectural metal products, it decided it was time to build a new factory. The vision was to take the innovation and passion for architectural metal and glass systems and create a factory and headquarters that showcased all of its products. Doralco leadership started at the roots of what has made their company successful: their team. To build the ideal factory, Doralco executives went to their employees and asked, "How would you like your area to be built?" They even
went as far as to have their architects/ engineers on staff design the look and feel of the building. The result was a headquarters and factory that projects flow-through with efficiency and space.

"We knew this factory was going to be amazing when we saw how excited everyone was as they started seeing their ideas come to life," says Brian Clifford, president, Doralco. "What we didn't expect were the efficiencies and abilities to handle new, more challenging work that we would gain."

Every detail was scrutinized, even the way the product is shipped. There are three types of shipping docks at the factory: a covered loading area, recessed docks and an interior loading
area where trucks can drive right in to be loaded. Doralco officials found that employees and shippers take more time and care when loading product by taking weather out of the equation, allowing them to boast a 99.6 percent "on time and in one piece" shipping record, according to company officials.

The entire plant is as clean as most companies' clean rooms. With tractorlike floor scrubbers cleaning the entire plant every shift, it's not hard to see why. "An immaculate plant speaks volumes on quality; our customers are astounded we actually build everything here," explains Matthew JaBaay, vice president of operations, Doralco. "Our facility is actually one of our best sales tools, second only to our product and team."

The factory is laid out by product and by process, from start to finish. The Sunshades, Grilles, Composite and Plate Panels, Column Covers, Glass Door Systems, Architectural Cladding and Custom Fabrication divisions each have their own areas of the factory that give employees enough open space to work, but allow division interaction. "We've found that the more the divisions work together, the more innovative they become in the development of new products," JaBaay says.