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Friday | 06 August, 2010 | 3:28 am

Eyes on the prize

By Meghan Siroky

August 2010 - Capitalizing on situations in the marketplace has been a key strategy for Tri Star Metals Inc. LLC, Carol Stream, Ill. In 2010, the company avoided layoffs, doubled its sales force and gained more than 150 customers. Beyond that, its recent merger with Pinnacle Metals Inc., Freeport, Ill., puts the company on the fast track to achieving its goals.

"One of the keys to our success in growing our customer base has been goal-setting from the top down. We challenge ourselves and put metrics on our performance that we monitor constantly. The metrics are updated daily on screens around the Carol Stream headquarters, so there's a great deal of transparency in our goals," says Jim Roach, executive vice president of Tri Star-Pinnacle Metals. "Everyone is aware what the organization's goal is, what the team's goal is and what the individual goals are."

Increase personnel
"We had the financial resources to continue to expand and take advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves," says Roach. "Some of our competitors, when things got tough, they started eliminating head count and cutting compensation packages. And for us, that was an opportunity to get some top talent that became available in the marketplace."

The company plans to strengthen management by adding three executive leaders from Pinnacle Metals: Bill Pigott as vice president, manufacturing; Nick Pigott as vice president of stainless and nickel alloys; and Kurt Payton as vice president of the eastern division, according to a press release. Avoiding layoffs is key to gaining maximum productivity and value from the Pinnacle facility, Roach says.

"We have not cut any jobs," says Roach. "These have all been increases in head count, and we're going to do the same at Pinnacle where we're going to double the capacity of the plant with the help of our German partners at Hagener [Feinstahl GmbH], with their 75 years of experience and their expertise, to expand and modernize the facility in Freeport."

Boosting capabilities
During the 20-year relationship between the two companies, Pinnacle Metals has been Tri Star Metals' largest toll processor.

"The combination of Tri Star and Pinnacle together really brings a unique value proposition to our customer base," says Roach. "We now have one of the largest stocking distributors of finished, stainless steel, rod, bar and wire mated with a redraw mill, so we can provide mill specials in short, timely fashion or ship from stock."

Although the partnership added a 130,000-square-foot Freeport, Ill., manufacturing facility to Tri Star Metals' North American expansion strategy, plans for reaching out to larger markets are in the works.

"This merger will increase our global buying power to 35,000 metric tons per year ... and empower us to better negotiate terms and pricing on raw materials to meet customer needs and help them maintain competitiveness in the world market," said Jay Mandel, president of Tri Star Metals, in a press release. The next goal is expanding the company's regional distribution centers to cover the United States.

"We are currently searching for a facility out east," scheduled to open later this year, says Roach. "Then, our next step in our growth strategy is a West Coast distribution hub, and that's in the two- to three-year time frame."

The merger will operate under the name Tri Star-Pinnacle Metals LLC through 2010, when it will become Tri Star Metals Inc. LLC. MM

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