Berlin Metals named best U.S. service center


August 23, 2014 – Joseph S. Pete

A Hammond-based steel service center won a major national award, and a few other steel companies with local ties also picked up top honors.

American Metal Market, the steel industry’s biggest trade publication, named Berlin Metals the Service Center of the Year for 2014.

The widely read trade publication named Berlin Metals best service center in the United States last year because of its 98 percent customer satisfaction, its close communication with mill sources to get order specifications right, and its focus on educating customers and suppliers about market conditions.

“It may be corny to say but it’s very true that companies don’t win awards, the people who work at the company win them,” President Roy Berlin said. “And at Berlin Metals we’re very fortunate to have many good people working hard every day to satisfy our customers’ diverse and demanding requirements.”

Berlin Metals buys steel coils and cuts them to precise widths for manufacturers in several industries, including automotive and home construction. The service center, which moved from Chicago to Hammond in 1984, processes steel for a number of end uses, such as shipping containers, and primarily handles tin mill products, stainless steel, cold-rolled sheet and light-gauge galvanized metal.

The company’s on-time delivery rates exceeded 99 percent for the past 10 years, which AMM cited as a reason for the award.

Berlin Metals, which ships about 1,000 line items per month, attained 99.61 percent on-time delivery last year. A significant number of its customers received on-time delivery 100 percent month after month, and all its customers reported 100 percent of its shipments were on time for two full months last year.

“The company has a multidisciplinary approach to resolve customer concerns, resulting in continuous improvement to its products and service,” the magazine said.

AMM gave out 15 Steel Excellence Awards at a conference in New York City to recognize best-in-class initiatives that introduced quantifiable change to the steelmaking sector. ArcelorMittal, which operates a global research and development center in East Chicago, won in the “Best Innovation: Process” category for the lightweight aluminum silicon-coated steel door ring it designed for the Honda Acura MDX. The ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor mill in East Chicago makes the Usibor 1500 grade used in the new car part.

South Bend-based Steel Warehouse Co., which has a location in Portage, picked up the Best Large Service Center of the Year award for doubling volumes over the past decade, increasing its pickling capacity and stockpiling higher inventory levels of special high-strength steels. Burnham-based Scrap Metal Services earned recognition as Scrap Company of the Year for its explosive 270 percent growth of the last five years, its expansion into Mexico, and its contract to dismantle a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the first supercarrier to be dismantled in the United States.

Scrap Metal Services also was a finalist in Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship category and for the Best Merger and Acquisition of the Year Award for its purchase of auto parts scrap yards in Gary, Lake Station, Westville and DeMotte.