Feb. 26—In a project that took more than a little patience, Alro Steel's Toledo office completed a series of renovations and an expansion that the business believes can lead to long-term growth for its location at 3003 Airport Hwy.
The expansion had been in the works for several years, Toledo general manager Keith Daly said, but ground to a complete stop for about two months last year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Once work was able to resume, the upgrades went back into motion and came to fruition earlier this month.
Alro, which also stocks industrial supplies and plastics in addition to steel fabrication, made a significant investment in its Toledo location.
In addition to a facelift for the business' offices, break room, and locker room, it increased the capacity of its warehouse to 123,000 square feet — which allows it to house double the capacity of sheet product as it did previously as well as more plate and long products.
Mr. Daly said more space will mean less reliance on transport, and therefore less handling of parts on second and third shifts.
"Most definitely, it's an efficiency move," Mr. Daly said. "It allows those products to be in-house as opposed to being transported, and it allows a fast throughput and decreases cycle time when processing customer orders."
Alro's Toledo location has a wide service area that covers nearly all of northwestern Ohio and ventures north past Monroe.
Mr. Daly said Alro regularly interacts with other businesses in other industries, and that upgrades should help provide a smoother day-to-operation overall at Alro.
In a release announcing the expansion, the company said it is focused on next-day processing for its Ohio customers.
In addition to housing more sheet product, the warehouse expansion allows for more capability to process metal.
"The additional metal processing that we do here right now is we cut the length, which are your basic bandsaws, and we shear the sides, so the more material we house, the more opportunity we have to process that material on all shifts," Mr. Daly said.
"As opposed to waiting for that material to come in, it's already in-house, so we don't have to wait for additional processing on second and third shift."
The company has locations in 12 states, including 27 in Michigan and Ohio combined. Its corporate headquarters are in Jackson, Mich.
The Airport Highway location previously belonged to Art Iron Inc. before Alro acquired the service center in 2004.
Mr. Daly, a Toledo native who joined the company from General Motors in 2007, said the investment in the close-to-home location has been welcome to see.
Further, a facility upgrade should allow the location to hire more employees, he said.
"Coming back home and seeing the expansion the way it has happened has been very gratifying, plus it opens up new opportunities for jobs," Mr. Daly said.