Business View Magazine interviews JB Wissman, President of Dimensional Metals, Inc., as part of our focus on best practices in the domestic metals sector.
Behind their own four walls, the second generation of family ownership and operation has helped raise Dimensional Metals, Inc. of Reynoldsburg, Ohio into a multi-faceted and multi-site metal fabrication firm, specializing in architectural metal roof and wall panel systems.
“I look at it as the small guy that kind of rose up from next to nothing and has really carved out a niche in this market,” explains JB Wissman, President (and second-generation member) of the company, as he describes the firm’s genesis. “Business officially started in 1988. It was born out of a family-owned roofing company, run by Phil and Steve Gastaldo in the Columbus, Ohio area. As metal roofing installers, they became frustrated with the manufacturers that they were purchasing panels from. So they went out and bought their first roll former in the mid- 80s and started rolling panels for themselves. With the revelation that fabrication was a better business, they spun off and started Dimensional Metals. Phil and Steve both still work here as owners of the company.”
Wissman’s family came into the company in 1996 as one of several investors. He explains the company’s growth and his father’s introduction to the firm in late 1998. “Steve Wissman, my dad, was elected CEO and moved to Columbus area to actively manage the business. With additional funding and operational structure, the business was truly ready to flourish. From 1998 until today, we are nearly five times the size we were back then.”
Commercial sales make up the majority of Dimensional Metals’ revenues – approximately 98 percent of its inventory goes to commercial suppliers. According to Wissman, “Our typical customer is a roofing contractor or subcontractor, but more and more, as we expand our product offerings from roofs to wall panels, we’re opening up and are selling more to general contractors and other contractors that put up wall panels.” The company’s geographic reach extends across the Midwest, Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic States. Because of prohibitive shipping costs, sales efforts end west of Missouri.
In explaining what sets the company apart from its competitors, Wissman compares company size to capabilities. “When you look at our competitors, there are many who are larger than us.” But he describes his company’s size as a “sweet spot” within the industry. “We do a lot of the things that our larger competitors do, such as buying steel and aluminum coils direct from the mill to keep costs down,” he explains. “But we’re not so big that we can’t innovate and honor a special request. So we try to be able to provide cost competitive options and remain nimble.”
The company’s small-business attitude further enhances its customer-centric operations. “We don’t want to have the mentality of a typical large manufacturer, disconnected from the end user,” Wissman states. “As we continue to grow, it’s important to Bill McKee (VP of Sales & Marketing) and me to keep focus on where we came from.” This dedication to personalized service with competitive prices is what keeps clients coming back. Wissman says that customers describe the team at Dimensional Metals as “fair, honest, and up-front,” stating, “We have a lot of repeat customers. You get in there, you get your foot in the door, and you knock their socks off. You serve quality, and keep going.”
He gives further insight into the company’s philosophy of customer service, saying, “Not everything works out all the time, but we really try our best to go the extra mile or do what we need to do to help a customer out. We try to keep a more personal touch to business that you may not get from some of our other competitors. We are fortunate to have such an excellent group of employees who work tirelessly to ensure the satisfaction of our customers.”
This philosophy, paired with its sales and outreach efforts, has helped Dimensional Metals grow into a three-location business. The company maintains manufacturing facilities in Reynoldsburg, Ohio and Salisbury, North Carolina. A fabrication/supply division, where custom orders are completed, is located in Columbus, Ohio. The firm maintains a staff of approximately 60 and continues to invest in growth. Wissman explains, “Technology is a big deal. We’re always investing in new equipment, upgrading it or adding to it to make us more efficient. Very rarely can you call me and I won’t have a new machine on order, or something in the works. It’s nonstop.” He adds that the company revamped its website last year, assisting with brand awareness and allowing clients and consumers to easily access information.
These investments in personalized service and technology will undoubtedly pave the path toward future growth. Wissman outlines his vision for the near future: “I’d like to see two to three more fabrication/supply shops within five to six years. And there are some geographic areas that we can still expand in that we haven’t. So, I’d like to continue to increase our business in the south and mid-Atlantic regions. As far as products we offer, I think we’re always adding to our product mix, based on opportunities we see and where the market is going.”
Wissman sees that market leaning more toward metal-dominant wall manufacturing. “Architects love our zinc and copper wall products,” he states. “They still love painted steel and aluminum, but they’ve taken a strong liking to natural and specialty metals as well. I think that part of our business will continue to grow.”
And he knows how to get there. Just as Dimensional Metals is dedicated to customer care, it’s likewise committed to nurturing relationships with its partners. “You can’t be successful in our business if you’re switching vendors and jumping back and forth. So, we’ve developed long-term, strong relationships with our core vendors. Our paint vendor, Valspar, which is now Sherwin Williams, is wide open to our business.”
And when it comes to applying paint and other coatings, Precoat Metals has also been an integral part of the business. According to Wissman, “You’re not anywhere if you don’t have someone reliable to service your supply needs.” Other lynchpin providers include Wheeling-Nisshin, a steel coating mill, and Rheinzink, an architectural zinc manufacturer. Dimensional Metals also partners with Hunter Panels to provide private labeled roof and wall insulation. Wissman says, “As our business continues to grow, we’ve focused more on not just the metal panels but everything required underneath them, as well. We feel additional value is provided to our customer by providing one source for our customers’ metal envelope needs.”
From the top down, long-term relationships are methods to ensure growth. But the importance of relationships also resonates within the company’s ethos. Wissman concludes by characterizing Dimensional Metals, thusly: “We’re the guy out there that can do just about anything you need us to do – just as well if not better than anyone else, and with a personal approach. We know our customers. We’ve been doing business with most of them for many years. We want to give them the product and service they need, and remain fair and reasonable. We strive to be the best overall value in the metal envelope system business.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Dimensional Metals, Inc.
WHAT: A metal fabrication firm
WHERE: Headquarters in Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Hunter Panels – www.hunterpanels.com
Hunter Panels is a manufacturer of energy efficient polyisocyanurate insulation for commercial roof and wall applications. Hunter services North America from 7 strategically located state of the art manufacturing facilities: NY, IL, FL, UT, TX, PA and WA.