The Kloeckner Metals Tulsa branch operates like a family. When someone is sick, people will bring food over. When there is inclement weather, people will text each other to make sure everyone got home okay. When a natural disaster strikes, people will get together to donate clothes, money, and any other things that will help.
“It doesn’t matter the event, we treat everyone here as if they were a part of our extended family,” said Misty Repp, inventory control at the Kloeckner Tulsa branch.
Another example of this family attitude is the celebration when an employee has a birthday. During one recent employee birthday, people came in early to decorate her office. By the time she got in, there was cake and presents on her desk. All this and she isn’t even a full-time employee yet.
“That was an extremely important event in her life because none of her family is in town,” Repp said. “This place is her in-town family.”
This attitude permeates through everything at the branch. Everyone pitches in and helps each other in any way they can. It is not okay for someone to say, “That is not my job.” Management is very hands-on and will jump in to help out when the need arises. Different departments will sit down together to think about how to better serve the customer. Things that happen in one department are going to impact all the other departments, and that is something that employees at Tulsa keep in mind.
“We have a very global view here, and that is instilled from the interview forward,” Repp said. “You don’t work in production, you don’t work in inventory, you don’t work in transportation, you work at Kloeckner, and you work for the Tulsa branch.”
Communication is crucial to maintaining this kind of environment. While there will sometimes be conflicts, how the conflicts are communicated and resolved will ultimately make the difference. Having everyone on the same page even extends beyond the branch and to the customers and the vendors. In her own role, Repp will make sure that everyone knows what is going on with inventory. When a coil is damaged, for example, she makes it a point to let everyone who will ever touch that material from the vendor to the salespeople know what is going on with it. Keeping open lines of communication takes effort, but it is worth it.
“You do have to maintain it, just like any other relationship in your life,” Repp said.
The capacity at Kloeckner Tulsa is continually expanding. Within the past year, they installed a new slitter on the floor. Currently, they are in the process of installing a new RFID system. Once in place, the system will be able to track materials from when they first enter the building all the way until they leave. The readers will be able to detect exactly where a piece of material is anywhere in the building.
“I think it is going to strongly increase accuracy,” Repp said. “So many things, even though we have them in a digital capacity, it is all subject to human error because we are all inputting that information.”
Kloeckner Tulsa also makes it a point to be involved in the community. The branch has adopted a school, Springdale Elementary, with which they hold special events and charity drives. Another recent charity event at the branch involved local Boy Scout troops. Kloeckner Tulsa and a few other local businesses gathered American flags that needed to be retired and then donated them to the Boy Scouts so they could learn how to properly dispose of a flag.
“We look for opportunities and not necessarily the most conventional opportunities,” Repp said. “I really think it is a good place to get your feet wet with the company. You are small enough that you know people by their first name, and yet you are big enough that you reach over to Germany.”
Steven Nghe is currently the Head of Marketing & Communications at Kloeckner Metals. Nghe is a marketing professional with more than 14 years of experience in various environments and industries. His goal is to tell you about the sexy side of steel. Nghe holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in Marketing from North Carolina State University. Prior to Kloeckner, Nghe worked for Delta Dental, Wells Real Estate Funds, Georgia Institute of Technology and Doosan.