On December 30, as 1975 was drawing to a close, Metalúrgica Arcovila began operations in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil. Its 16 employees made metal window frames. In June 2008 the company, now known as Metasa, employed around 450 people and had just delivered an off-shore oil drilling platform for Petrobras.
Very few large companies manage to grow their equity 30 percent in a single year, but that is precisely what Metasa did from 2006 to 2007. Antonio Roso, the chairman of Metasa’s board, says that it is the result of “working correctly, managing for results, and focusing on growth.” That is, in a nutshell, what Metasa has been doing for over 30 years: working correctly.
Training is a big part of it. In 2006 Metasa spent 23,360 manhours in training. In 2007 the company raised the bar, completing 45,024 man-hours, that is, 107 hours per employee. In 1995 Metasa launched its Total Quality program. Four years later the metal structure operation received ISO: 9001 certification for selling, designing, and making metal structures. Metasa was also the first metal structure company in Brazil to receive ISO 9001:2000 certification.
Other kinds of worker-related actions have also taken place: In 2007 each of the company’s employees received a bonus corresponding 2.84 percent to his or her monthly compensation. Metasa also reimburses up to 50 percent of college-level tuition, and up to 80 percent of technical training for its employees. Foreign language education is also financially encouraged among workers. Metasa has received an award from the United Nations for its drugs and crime prevention program; the non-profit Ibase certified it as a transparent company and for the last two years Metasa received a social responsibility award from the Rio Grande do Sul state congress. Dinheiro magazine named Metasa the country’s leading
ironworks company in 2007.
Technology also plays a big part in the company’s success. The financial statements for 2007 show that the capital invested in equipment doubled from the previous year. From 3D design software to manufacturing equipment, its operations are fully automated. As well as allowing the company to fulfill large contracts with a relatively small payroll, technology reduces costs in other ways: “We have to get it right the first time because any mistakes in the manufacturing plant causes much bigger problems in the field,” explains Roso.
As the 21st century began, Metasa set for itself the goal to export at least 5 percent of its production by 2005. While it did achieve the goal, it later cut back on exports due to the decline of the dollar, which made Brazilian products uncompetitive. At the same time, however, the Brazilian economy entered a boom that made domestic demand greater than the country’s production capacity. IBS, the Brazilian Ironworks Institute, forecasts a 9.9 percent growth in the steel production of Brazil and a domestic revenue growth of 18 percent for Brazilian ironworks companies. Metasa and most other Brazilian infrastructure companies are rushing to fulfill orders as quickly as they come in. Metasa expects to add 100 positions to its payroll in 2008.
Metasa expects to grow its revenues faster than the national average: its proforma financial statements for 2008 project a 35 percent revenue growth and 22 percent profit growth. At the same time, cost of goods sold is expected to grow by 6 percent only. Antonio Roso reports that he is proud to reap the increased efficiency provided by automation. These projections are not as bold as they might appear at first glance. In 2007, Metasa’s profits were 25 percent higher than in the previous year. And the recently increased capacity of the Marau plant, along with organizational projects established by the company’s strategic planning and outlined above, should help the company achieve its goals.