Mark Devaney writes about a company with an ancient name and a modern approach to customer service — Inca Metal Products Corporation, a nationwide leader in metal racks and shelving.
If there’s one thing virtually all companies have in common, it’s a need for storage. And no company can meet the demands of material storage as well as Inca Metal Products Corporation.
Inca is a leading manufacturer of steel products for the construction, distribution and manufacturing industries. Its products and services include rack and shelving, mechanical and structural steel tubing, and toll processing for large steel mills. Today, Inca manufactures a full line of metal racks, shelving and shop equipment.
“Inca’s mission is to create a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with each customer by optimally designing and cost-effectively producing top-quality, innovative steel storage rack and shelving for both materials-handling distributors and end users,” says Jim Bitto, Inca’s president.
Ancient Tradition, Modern Craftsmanship
The word “Inca” in the company’s corporate name has a very distinct meaning. Edward M. Quintana, Inca’s founder, was born in Lima, Peru. Since the Peruvian Incas were, and still are, considered to have been some of the world’s finest metallurgists, it seemed only appropriate to select this name and establish the company’s slogan as, “The Incas Were Craftsmen — So Are We.”
In 1934, Quintana opened a metal-stamping operation, and later decided to manufacture and market the first full line of steel utility and storage cabinets for household use. However, from the time the nation started building up for national defense in 1939 until the end of World War II, the company devoted 100 percent of its efforts to defense and war production.
After the war, Inca revamped its cabinet line, which included many new models and designs, and added Hollywood bed frames and utility tables to round it out. With increased demand and market penetration for these items, Inca outgrew its facilities and relocated to Carrollton, Texas, a more central location to better serve all customers.
In 1955, Inca again became involved with many large government contracts, which included several hundred barracks lockers, workbenches and missile containers. This helped to fill the available production time brought about by the declining need for household-type cabinets. The know-how acquired in making these products, plus the knowledge gained with similar items manufactured during World War II, could be considered the forerunner and reason for establishing the Shelving Equipment Division in 1958. In 1967, Inca moved into its present location in Lewisville, Texas.
In 1989, Quintana sold the company to a group of investors. They in turn sold the company to David Rosenfield, who is Inca’s current owner and chief executive officer.
Many of Inca’s major customers are in the food-supply business: U.S. Cold Storage, Alliant Food Service and HEB. The company also has many customers in the automotive parts-supply business — AutoZone and O’Reilly Automotive, to name two. “We work very closely with their warehouse-facility people to help design their storage facilities for optimum productivity,” says Bitto. “We are constantly looking at more reliable and efficient equipment to serve their needs. Their technical obstacles become our challenges.”
Inca’s customers also include companies in the logistics business, where there is an economic advantage in storing materials for some period of time. “We create a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with each customer by cost-effectively producing top-quality, innovative products and providing flexible responses to our customers’ needs,” says Bitto. “This allows us to provide excellent quality products and service, on time, every time to our internal and external customers through a continual quality-improvement process whereby prevention of defects is the responsibility of all Inca personnel.
“Our creativity is unending,” he adds. “Whether you have a new warehouse or you are redesigning your existing facility, you will find Inca’s professional sales representatives, designers and engineers ready to work in close partnership with you through the successful completion of your project.”
Inca has the complete capability to design, manufacture, deliver and install a wide range of storage racks, shelving and shop equipment. The company can also provide mezzanines designed for a facility’s particular needs. “We want you to enjoy the increased productivity that results from better utilization of your facilities for years to come,” says Bitto. “That’s why every effort is made to give you the finest quality products and excellent solutions to your particular storage problems.”
Racking up Growth
Inca recently completed an acquisition of Clymer Enterprises in Pandora, Ohio. Clymer not only makes pallet rack; it is one of the leading suppliers of cantilever rack for a variety of storage applications. American Capital Strategies, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ACAS), invested $4,850,000 to finance the Clymer acquisition. American Capital also funded a recapitalization of Inca in September 1999.
“Inca’s acquisition of Clymer opens the door to an array of synergies that will benefit both companies as well as their customers,” says American Capital Principal Gordon O’Brien. “Combining the two companies will allow Inca to improve its own production capacity by shifting its cantilever production to Clymer, allow Clymer to take advantage of Inca’s greater buying power and give both companies’ customers more and better choices.”
“Our ongoing partnership with American Capital has allowed us to grow our management team and harmonize our internal systems,” says Rosenfield. “Additionally, it allows us the flexibility to continue to make strategic acquisitions.” According to Bitto, Inca is actively reviewing other potential acquisitions that would be a strategic fit to its core business.