The official merger between Kloeckner’s Los Angeles and Santa Fe Springs branches didn’t occur until January 1, 2018, but by mid-December, the wall separating the two branches had literally come down. Being located in the same building made the two branches’ situation unique, and so it only made sense to combine the flat-rolled side and the heavy carbon side into one cohesive unit. As the physical wall between the two came down, the new Santa Fe Springs branch was born.
“Sergio Torres, our GM, wanted to make it symbolic also just by opening it up and allowing a completely open floor throughout the entire office,” said Sourcing Manager for Flat-Rolled J. Paul Javier. “Bringing two branches together and unifying them made Santa Fe Springs, overnight, a significant player in the West Coast. The new size of the branch allows us to leverage many aspects of our business including purchasing, sales, added values and synergies. We’re taking the fulfillment center approach. ”
Now that the branches are combined, some of the machinery has been configured to do lighter material for certain value-added products. Operations that previously were outsourced can now be done entirely in-house.
The sales team at the branch can now also offer the whole array of products instead of being segmented into two distinct units.
“It is increasing revenue, increasing profitability, and decreasing lead times,” J. Paul said. “That’s always good for the customers.
The open floor plan itself began with the LA branch and is designed to create a more collaborative work environment. When the LA branch changed location in 2013 and moved into the same building as the Santa Fe Springs branch, they decided to take a Silicon Valley approach like a Google or Facebook when designing the new office space. There was an open floor plan with music in the office, customized desks, a game room, free soda, free food, and a lot more. This environment has carried over as the LA and Santa Fe Springs Branches merged.
“You have a wide array of things to keep your employees engaged at work and happy at work,” J. Paul said. “That decreases turnover and creates a better working environment.”
While there are always going to be bumps in the road, the merger process has overall gone extremely well. Morale is very high, and everyone has been very flexible and receptive to the changes. Employees who did not regularly work together are now communicating, and the team is gathering new ideas that they didn’t think of before. The new, larger office is also a lot livelier.
“There has been nothing but great vibes coming from everyone who works here,” J. Paul said. “The right leadership is in place to take this branch to the next level, and we are seeing that early in the year with our profitability, our increased business, our new customers, and our out-of-the-box thinking led by our management team.”