Top Metal Companies 2016, 5th Annual Report

North America’s largest metal manufacturers invest in partnerships and products to maintain solid growth
By Bethany Stough and Wendy Vardaman
October 31, 2016
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION : TOP METAL COMPANIES 2016

Working in a busy, yet challenging, environment, Glass Magazine’s Top Metal Companies continue to report solid growth, as 87 percent of this year’s largest metal manufacturers saw increased sales year-over-year. This growth marks the fourth consecutive year that more than 70 percent of Top Metal Companies reported gains.

As jobs increase, Top Metal Companies are investing more than ever in product development and supply chain partnerships to maintain successful businesses and keep up with the pace of demand.

“Like us, our customers have seen pressures from a shrinking labor force and a rising market,” says Jack Williams, director of marketing for EFCO Corp. “EFCO has made a concentrated effort to alleviate some of the labor pressure by increasing our offering of factory assembled and glazed [systems].”

Many Top Metal Companies are also committed to their vendor partners and the glazing community to ensure high-quality work in the face of elongated lead times and tight project timetables.

“Buildings are going up so fast … [suppliers] need to ensure first and foremost that we continue to supply a quality product and do not cut corners,” says Mike Wallace, president, Quality Metalcrafts/Americlad. “We have invested in additional equipment, people and have also worked closely on improving our efficiencies to assist our customer base in getting them a quality product, on a timely basis.”

Major hurdles for Top Metal Companies in 2015 were code changes and strict regulations. This year’s Top Metal Companies are facing the challenge head-on with new development and continuous testing, and by leveraging regional expertise.

“We stay abreast of code changes, but find the time from promulgation to implementation to vary widely between regions. We rely on our customers to be attuned to local code changes in their areas,” says Andrew Haring, vice president of marketing, C.R. Laurence Co.

Improved business conditions have increased sales for the metals market, but this year’s Top Metal Companies report that capacity for metal extruders and finishers, and glass fabricators is an issue. Resources are stretched, and product availability is unpredictable. The continuous concern of finding quality, skilled labor to meet capacity demands puts more pressure on metal manufacturers.

But, this year’s Top Metal Companies are working to remain competitive in a thriving but challenging environment. “[The greatest challenge] is minimizing lead times to remain responsive to our customers,” says Tessa Miller, marketing specialist, SC Railing Co. “Across the board, vendors are busier and continue to increase lead times. We must constantly be evolving our process to accommodate our customers’ requests.”

Despite 2016's challenges, many Top Metal Companies reported acquisitions, expansions and equipment investments. C.R. Laurence Australia Pty Ltd., acquired the operating assets of Neil Bennett and Co. Pty Ltd., known as “Glass and Glazing Hardware,” in Canning Vale, Western Australia. SC Railing Co. acquired South Carolina-based Architectural Railings & Grilles late last year, providing an entry into the high-rise residential market. Tubelite Inc. opened a new client services office in 2015, in Providence, Rhode Island. Gamco Corp. invested in a new state-of-the-art CNC machining center to enhance much of its aluminum machining operations. Quality Metalcrafts LLC/Americlad, expanded its Rogers, Minnesota, headquarters, which now totals over 150,000 square feet. Additionally, the company invested in five major pieces of equipment to include additional forming, rolling and sawing work centers.

As they expand, Top Metal Companies also face many challenges going into 2017. Government regulations, rising costs, the influx of cheap foreign products and an unreliable workforce continue to stress stable growth, metal manufacturer sources say. But the majority plan to continue fostering supply chain partnerships and producing quality products to keep pace with the busy market.

“The supply chain will continue to grow tight to the point that strategic partnerships will be a must,” says Williams.

Click here for information on some of North America's top finishing and forming companies.

About the list

This year’s Top Metal Companies list— based on annual sales volume—features the leading suppliers of metal products in the United States and Canada. The Top Metal Companies include those that manufacture, fabricate and sell curtain wall, storefront and entrance systems, commercial interior and exterior railings, aluminum composite panels and exterior sun-control products to the glass and glazing industry. In addition to the list, this year’s Top Metal Companies coverage includes market statistics related to sales volume, product demand, acquisition plans, employee recruitment and regional growth, as well as notable projects from a selection of top metal fabricators.

The majority of the information included in the Top Metal Companies list comes directly from the manufacturers or fabricators themselves. In cases where a company did not provide information, we gathered sales estimates and other data from industry insiders, business credit resources and the respective companies’ websites. Sales figures for these companies are shown as estimates. Although we provide specific sales data when it’s available, many privately held companies do not release sales figures. As a result, metal companies are listed alphabetically within five sales range categories.

While we don’t make any definitive claims about the Top Metal Companies list, we believe it reflects leading companies within this industry segment. If your company belongs on the list, or you would like to update the information published here, please contact us. It is only with the cooperation of individual companies that Glass Magazine’s Top Metal Companies can reflect the industry as it is today. Questions or comments about this year’s list, and requests to be included next year can be sent to Bethany Stough at bstough@glass.org.

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