Growth Report 2017: Liberty Steel Products Invests to Meet Demand

Editor’s Note: The following story is from Growth Report 2017, published by The Business Journal.

NORTH JACKSON, Ohio — An increase in revenue, sales, products, capabilities and capacity last year at Liberty Steel Products Inc. points to an encouraging 2017 for the steel service company, says CEO Jim Grasso.

“We made investments and strategic decisions that strengthened our company,” he says. “We’re positioned to take advantage of opportunities created by increased demand for steel and continued growth in the economy.”

Liberty Steel’s purchase last year of a BuTech Bliss multicut blanking line with a synergy leveling system is already paying dividends, Grasso says. The system, installed at the North Jackson plant, enables the company to process heavy-gauge steel to exacting tolerances more quickly and efficiently. “It has far exceeded everyone’s expectations,” he says.

Liberty Steel Products operates plants here and in Hubbard. The company processes and supplies coated, cold-rolled and hot-rolled steel, and prepainted building products to more than 300 domestic and international customers. Metal Center News lists the company as one of the Top 50 steel service centers in the country, Grasso notes.

The acquisition of Orwell, Ohio-based Welded Tubes Inc. which produces tubing used by automotive, lawn and garden, furniture, and appliance manufacturers, represents another significant investment.

“Welded Tubes has been a Liberty Steel customer for several years,” he says. “The fact that both companies are family-owned and share business philosophies created a synergy we explored and then acted upon. The relationship provides growth opportunities for both operations.”

Meanwhile, Liberty Steel’s building products line is generating more revenue, Grasso says. Several years go, the company expanded this line to include prepainted coils and custom colors on request.

Integrating new equipment and products into the operational structure presented challenges for management. The company responded by investing in technology in the form of a enterprise resource planning, or ERP, system and software upgrades.

“Technology drives our industry from the front office to the shop floor to the loading dock,” Grasso says.

While 2016 was marked by “dynamic change,” he says one element remains a constant: the company’s ongoing investment in its workforce and the dedication of its employees.

“Simply put, our employees believe in us and we believe in them,” he says. “That mutual faith and trust is responsible for our success and explains why so many of our employees have been with us for 25 years or more.”

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