Many people might think of Genzink Steel as a local steel supplier, welding company and erector of steel frame buildings. That view would have fit the company up to the turn of the 21st century, but since then, the 50-year-old fabricator has shifted its focus more to companies outside the state and region in a range of growth industries.
“People would be surprised how much out-of-state and out-of-country work we do — and the companies we work for,” Ken Genzink, president of the company and son of founder Donald Genzink, told MiBiz in an exclusive interview. “We work with top-grade international companies.” The company got its start at the family’s farm in Holland, where it made clothesline poles and crates for hog farmers and performed welding jobs for customers around the area. He got its first big break making machine bases for Prince Corp. and others in the die industry. Building off that success and capitalizing on the manufacturing boom, the business started a structural steel division and had a part in the construction of many local plants, which led to additional contracts for maintenance and various steel items for the shop floor, ranging from bridge cranes to mezzanines, he said. “In the late ’80s and ’90s was when things really started to grow,” he said.
Another major shift, both in terms of industries served and how their partners with other companies, occurred when the company started building mining shuttle cars for Joy Mining Machinery, a major manufacturer of “the Cadillac of mining equipment,” said John Maxson, COO of this Steel and the manager of the shuttle car project. That he was able to meet Joy’s high standards of workmanship and on-time project deliveries led the Holland supplier to work with other segments of the mining industry. “They said that if you’re able to work with Joy, you’re the type of company we’d like to work with,” Maxson said, noting the project helped hem secure business with major public companies including the likes of Halliburton, FMC Technologies and Wärtsilä. It is now beginning to target private mining companies. “The focal point has been around our core competencies in heavy duty, complex fabrication. … The value we bring isn’t something they can get in their backyard, and that’s surprised us as the days go on. We ask ourselves, aren’t there someone between their local area and Holland that could do what we do? It’s a testament to the quality of people we have here, our discipline of process flow, and making and holding people accountable.”
He excels by delivering consistency on low- to medium-volume projects. Taking a page out of the auto industry, it aimed to deliver high standards for production in industries that did not normally demand such exacting quality, Maxson said. In many cases, they were leading their customers’ expectations higher, and that led him to be considered a preferred supplier-to the point where customers are looking to move new hammer crusher products to the company or place them there from other ore beneficiation machines suppliers.
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