Looking Out for Others is Just Smart Business

~Industrial Metal Supply Com. Proves it!

You can tell from the professional website touting six decades in business and six locations, Industrial Metal Supply Co. (IMS) is a well-run operation.  You would have to look a little deeper to find that it is a family business started by current CEO Neil Sherman’s parents in 1948 working out of their family car, as explained in the History on the IMS website.

IMS has nearly 400,000 square feet of retail space with 6 locations, and employs 300 people.

IMS sells… you guessed it: metal!  IMS offers aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, bronze, cast iron and lead, to name a few.  They offer metal in all shapes and sizes – textured sheet, diamond plate, ornamental iron or fittings, fence and rail, brackets and tools – if it has to do with metal IMS probably sells it.  They sell metal in huge storefronts that have been called the “Candy store of metal!” from Los Angeles, Irvine, Riverside, and San Diego, California, to Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.  You can even buy metal online from IMS.

Today the company now has nearly 400,000 square feet of retail space and employs 300 people. The reason for the incredible success of the organization is obvious when you witness how their extensive product line is matched with an unparalleled level of customer service, whether you are a very large customer (like Honeywell or Raytheon), or a hobbyist jewelry maker.

Arizona General Manger, Roger Cundick says “It’s really the little guy that made us who we are today.   We are different because we can handle both very small and very large needs.”

But IMS is different for other reasons too.  The company’s culture of support and inclusion doesn’t stop with customers.  The company grew because they paid attention to people’s needs.  From the top down, IMS is an organization that looks out for others.  IMS provides employees with child care services in some locations, as well gas stipends to help with commutes and ongoing education subsidies.  The company supports many charities including the Children’s Cancer Society and Special Olympics.  And this year, IMS partnered with Beacon Group to provide work for people with disabilities at both of their Arizona locations.

Several months ago Neil Sherman decided to contract with Beacon Group to handle some of the tasks required to keep the stores in Phoenix and Tucson clean and organized.  As a longtime supporter of people with disabilities, the solution appealed to Sherman because he could see advantages to both the individual and the company.  One of IMS’ associates of 30-plus years came to his job through Sherman, who coached his Special Olympics team.  Sherman observed how people with disabilities are often more enthusiastic and passionate about what they do.

Cundick and Sherman did their due diligence before deciding to go the route of customized contract labor teams through Beacon. “Visiting Beacon in Tucson influenced our decision,” remarks Cundick.   “We were very impressed with the company’s capabilities, how Beacon manages their staff, their employee’s performance and job appreciation.”

Customized contract labor teams allow a business to hire two or more employees on a regular weekly schedule that meets the needs of the business for whatever tasks are desired by the organization.  The team is trained and supervised by a job coach at no cost to the business.

Penny Shaw works at IMS’ Phoenix location two days a week.  Penny’s Job Coach Kacey Hart says her team is proud of the work they do at IMS.  Penny echoes “I like keeping the store clean and organized. My job makes me responsible.  I have to be on time, ready to work and have a good attitude.”

Robert Jameson and Francisco Coreas work at the Tucson IMS location.  They both agreed that having work to do is important, but each came up with other benefits beyond keeping busy and earning a paycheck.  Francisco pointed out that the job allows him to try new things, and Robert says the experience will help him grow into other opportunities in the future.  Robert added “Most importantly, they provided equipment for my safety, like boots, gloves and hard hat.”

Many organizations are learning what IMS knows about hiring people with disability:  Looking out for others is just smart business.  In a study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, a company that analyzes the practices of high-performance organizations, more than three-quarters of employers surveyed ranked their employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities as good or very good on work quality, motivation, engagement, integration with co-workers, dependability, and attendance.

“I see how using their skills on the job gives these workers a real sense of satisfaction, Cundick acknowledges.  “But, we view this as more than helping the community.  This solution works for us because it frees up our people on the floor to deal with the customers more.  We have tried hiring part time workers in the past to serve these needs, but it’s hard to find people who are going to show up.  Beacon Group is reliable and easy to work with.”

The appreciation is mutual.  Beacon worker Franklin Cornellier says “I like my manager here.  He is honest and keeps me busy.  I like to be occupied doing something productive.”  Franklin makes sure to get his other point across as well.   He stresses, “This job is helping me move on to living more independently.  You need money to pay bills.”

“One thing I really love about Franklin,” says Cundick. “He doesn’t mince words.”

The IMS tag line is ‘Metal Made Easy’.  Product expertise aside, the company could equally claim ‘Looking out for others made easy.’

Contact Jim Campbell at 520-622-4874 if you would like to learn more about hiring a Contract Labor Team.