Adaptation: Developer of niche solutions for metals distribution and processing focuses on integration, analytics and service

Above: By looking at coils on the floor, you cannot surmise what to pull for a production order but your
software will find the right material.

April, 2024- Application interface. Also referred to as an application programming interface (API), this consists of a set of rules and protocols that describes how two software programs or systems communicate with each other. This little term has become much more, especially in an era where key people need to access just about any nugget of information they want about their company’s operations, anywhere and at any time, and make sound decisions based on that information.

Rodney Toor, North American sales executive for Jonas Metals, recalls the long arc of software development back to the Y2K period. “There was a lot of fear, and changes were made to software” to adapt to the new century, he says. After that, most companies transitioned to email communication, then barcoding at mills and service centers, and then
they adopted shop floor management software systems. Today, many North American service centers are still running on post-Y2K software and find that they need to upgrade again.


Jonas Metals is part of a global company, Constellation Software, one of the premier consolidators of tech companies, says Toor. “There is so much out there” to be done, such as “putting loads to bid. We must move this data to API and then to a carrier. And we can put the relevant data into an API and send that data to third parties anywhere,” Toor says.

“We have good internal scheduling and production software,” he continues. For example, if a customer performs contract work with an automotive OEM and buys raw material on contracts, “we can give them any scheduling software they need. Some customers have multiple branches and use multiple currencies.” North America alone has three different currencies. Many customers “want to integrate with a software solution that can use many existing systems, including accounting.”

Jonas Metals creates APIs for whatever task a manager or employee needs to see and these are all

Jonas Metals also integrates software for metals processing operations, such as ProNest, SigmaNext and SecturaFab. “A couple of things happen,” Toor explains. “Say I have orders and I just want to download shapes and upload that to cutting and nesting software, and send that information straight to the cutting machine to produce parts.”

At the same time, other people in the organization want the same system to be able to identify the finished part, identify the sections of the cut plate that is still usable for a future job and store that information so the plate can be re-used. Jonas’ iMetal can achieve each of those separate goals.


Some organizations have been able to adapt and advance with integrated software systems and realize significant benefits. Jonas Metals recently visited a customer that “takes our accounts receivable and sales history, feed it into AI and machine learning programs and it tells them which invoices are likely not to get paid, which ones are most
likely to default,” Toor relates.

Primarily, the software looks at a customers histories and current inventory and tells the sales staff “what orders should be within the next two weeks and indicates what orders they should have received in the last two weeks but didn’t get. If you miss two orders per week for each of 50 locations, that’s very big.

“What they are doing with business intelligence and machine learning is predictive analytics,” Toor says.

In distribution, if the software is able to tell the sales organization which orders they didn’t get, “that is much more advanced than what you were getting from your old software. It’s already happening in the bigger service centers.”


Toor says there has been some consolidation within the software sector. Jonas has access to programmers but there is competition for those resources inside the company. “As an agile development group, our project management methodology values collaboration and efficiency. A team must create a business model for what we want to do. We must have a story: what are the reasons? Here’s the roadmap. The day of the cowboy programmer just responding to one customer is over. Our methods are to benefit the whole code,” Toor says.

Where is development going? Everything is moving to Software as a Service (SaaS), Toor says. “For example, when you log into, you are using the same programming as everyone else.” Toor says there “are big changes afoot for metals distribution and fabrication.” He acknowledges that the cost of upgrading software can be high depending on what’s being used now. “Many IT programs have roots back to the 1990s through the 2000s, and many programming
tools expired and are not supported anymore.

“You must update the tools to write the software. You must have a team. So there are large implications for the industry,” he continues. “We use the term Software for Life because Jonas has the wherewithal to update constantly. I recently talked to a guy who wrote his company’s software from scratch, by himself. It does what the company wanted to do but he wants to retire, and you cannot get someone else to do this anymore.”

Companies like that “need more outside help,” he says. “They must keep their products up to date or it doesn’t work. It’s been 25 years since Y2K.”


Scott Taylor, Jonas Metals’ chief revenue officer, says the growth possibilities within the metals space “are endless. It’s a blank state. We can start from the ground up and make it great” for customers. 

Toor says that behind Jonas Metals’ C suite is a staff of younger people who are developing “a new generation of software that will drive the industry for the next 30 years.” He notes that every single function will be interactive.

Certainly, Jonas Metals customers also have legacy software that they still love, Toor says. Implementing new software can be “disruptive and maybe they just want a nice-looking report.”

By adopting Jonas Metals’ tools, “they can upload data and create beautiful reports without revamping the entire system. They can use modern tools on existing systems and get more out of it, without the need to change the backbone of the system. Some of our users prefer to integrate their legacy system with our new tools.”

Jonas Metals, 888/217-7580,