MM 1020 face squareFace Time - A consolidated producer finds ways to expand and improve operations, says Doug Rife, structural sales manager for Nucor Tubular Products

A consolidated producer finds ways to expand and improve operations, says Doug Rife, structural sales manager for Nucor Tubular Products

MM 1020 face leadOctober 2020 - Q: What key changes NTP has seen in the past few years?

A: Since forming in 2017, we have expanded to eight locations, added new product offerings and made it easier for customers to find what they are looking for through our e-commerce portals. We formed a new division, the Specialty Products Group, and welcomed Randy Skagen as its general manager.

Q: Talk about any new technology developments at the company.

A: NTP is spending $27.2 million to expand the Trinity, Alabama, location. This investment includes new production, finishing, processing and packaging equipment, and we will grow our workforce to support the new operations.

We are also spending about $4 million for improvements at our Birmingham mills. We will perform upgrades and install new equipment that will enhance the quality of our products and increase efficiencies. We are adding quick change-over technology; upgrading mill coolant systems to improve surface quality and increase tool life; adding weld monitoring systems, including flux leakage for improved weld integrity; upgrading mill cut-off systems to improve cut end quality and length tolerances; and improving plant layout for reduced material handling. We will maintain our full range of capabilities while simplifying our mill scheduling.

Q: How large a role does safety play in NTP’s operations?

A: Over the last year, we invested in many upgrades across our plants to ensure the safety of every teammate and visitor. We have added lights to our yard to increase visibility when loading trucks at night. We added many safety measures to enhance our fall protection, including added netting around every truck that is being loaded and loading platforms. We formed safety action committees that focus on specific areas like our No-Touch Tools Team, First Responders and Active Aggressor committees.  

Q: Describe how NTP has overcome specific challenges in recent years.

A: We faced many challenges as NTP brought together three established companies. To begin, our HSS customers were purchasing from two different portals. So we integrated our systems to build a one-stop shop where customers can browse and search stock inventory; order from floor stock or rollings; submit and view inquiries; receive notifications via email when their order ships; release shipments; view open orders, bills of lading and test reports; view price sheets; and much more. This change has resulted in our consistently ranking first for e-commerce solutions.

We also built an interactive map on our newly designed NTP website to make it easy for our conduit customers to locate their agent based off ZIP code and state/territory.

In addition, we faced the challenge of maintaining and building trust with customers during the transition from three companies to one. Although many of these changes happened internally, NTP remained focused on showing customers that we are committed to providing mutual long-term success and sustained value.

Q: What impact has COVID-19 had on your industry?

A: Like others, we felt the direct effects of COVID-19. First and foremost, our primary goal is to protect the safety of our teammates and everyone with whom we interact on a regular basis. As such, we continue to closely monitor the constantly evolving situation as it relates to COVID-19 and the spread, both domestically and abroad, of diagnosed cases. As part of our efforts, we created a task force consisting of members of our executive leadership team, human resources, mill operations, legal and others. We engaged appropriate medical resources with expertise in infectious diseases to help us make informed decisions. This task force meets regularly to assess and adapt to changing circumstances. Because of the measures we put in place at our locations, we have been able to remain focused on supporting our customer’s business needs.

The workplace continues to evolve with shifts to more flexible work-from-home options, and we expect that to continue. With that being said, NTP is committed to making improvements in other areas to make it easy for our customers to do business with NTP on-the-go. MM

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