MiTek Industries Inc.
- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
MiTek Industries Inc. (MiTek) is the world’s largest supplier of state-of-the-art engineered products and services for the building components industry. MiTek delivers steel connectors, structural design software and engineering services to a multinational marketplace. The company maintains its headquarters in Chesterfield, Mo., has engineering offices, machinery divisions and stamping plants across the U.S. (as well as on five other continents), and has over 2,000 employees globally.
Tom Manenti, chairman and CEO of MiTek, has been with the company since 1977, when he started in sales. “I was the junior salesman in the smallest territory in the company,” says Manenti, who brings to the boardroom a thorough understanding of what helps the company succeed. He says the company’s core focus historically was in supplying connector products to truss component manufacturers, but MiTek has expanded its offering with a diverse spread of parts, equipment, engineering services and even software that benefit companies that produce the prefabricated components in a structure. Thanks to MiTek innovations, homebuilders can achieve unprecedented levels of buildability, accuracy and efficiency throughout the design and building process.
The company’s clients are primarily manufacturers of trusses and prefabricated wall panels that utilize either wood or steel as their primary structural material. “We make connector plates, but the value isn’t in the stamped metal plate … it’s the engineering and structural design software that our customers use to design and analyze the structure,” explains Manenti. The software MiTek develops is a fully integrated system that encompasses every component of a truss manufacturer’s operations from design and estimating to cutting and assembly. Tying it all together helps manufacturers streamline the process with in-depth documentation every step of the way, enhancing their accuracy and productivity.
Helping Clients Grow
Since 1956 MiTek has been bringing together the resources that allow homebuilders to express their creativity in new home design without the complexity and restrictions of traditional lumber framing. The plants running MiTek’s integrated truss construction systems lead the industry in their expertise. Reflecting on the design-build process, Manenti says, “The framer more often than not chooses the truss manufacturer. Our customers are sought after because of the depth of their expert design process and their ability to deliver complete and accurate packages quickly.”
MiTek offers all-inclusive packages, ideal for full facility retrofits or startups. These complete component manufacturing systems consist of a range of equipment. They take into consideration emerging technologies and incorporating safety standards, and they are customized to the client’s purpose. MiTek deals in saws, assembly tables, material handling equipment, roller presses and splicers, all designed to handle various materials and capacities. Much of the equipment is fully computerized and is easily integrated into MiTek’s design software, which has allowed homes using prefabricated truss packages to be significantly more complex and compelling than the rooflines of the past.
MiTek offers software for every facet of a structural component fabrication business. Business Management packages offer applications that help customers monitor and manage material and labor costs, whether in the bidding process, tracking sales or managing project schedules. Engineering software is also designed to automate the precision cutting and assembly of components using automated jig sets and laser projection.
MiTek’s SAPPHIRE Software Suite incorporates three-dimensional building information modeling (BIM) that allows builders to increase their involvement in projects by enabling file sharing between manufacturers, designers and contractors. The system shows a complete virtual representation of the structure, where every structural member and connection is pinpointed for maximum design efficiency and for optimization of materials.
The company operates worldwide and, despite the global economic crisis, MiTek is holding steady as the leader in the business thanks to its technologies that focus on improving accuracy and productivity. “Our biggest challenge has been the consolidation of the housing and construction market,” explains Manenti. “We’ve seen a lot of multiple-location customers and small family-owned businesses that have either sold out or gone out of business completely.” He says some of the hardest hit markets have been cut in half by the crisis. Manenti says the key to keeping business has been maintaining great relationships and focusing on and increasing customers’ efficiency. “Our customers need to be able to do more with less costs in less time,” he elaborates. “They’re relying on technology now more than ever.”
Manenti has seen some improvements, but says, “I wouldn’t call anything we see today a market rebound. With a little patience, I think we’ll see a recovery in the next three years or so.” For now his focus is on putting out products and software that will help give his customers an edge. “Keeping score is important, but our biggest indicator of success is our customer’s success and their satisfaction,” he explains. MiTek aims to keep the businesses of its clients running smoothly by providing a reliable combination of timely delivery and quick response to support inquiries.
MiTek employs some of the best people in the business, from software designers to the members of its sales team. The only thing weighing heavy on Manenti’s mind is “… making sure we have created and sustained a great, people-first environment. I sincerely believe that as long as our people are excited about working here every day, they are going to perform their best work and have fun doing it.” So far, the company philosophy is working. Manenti expects an increase in brand recognition as MiTek’s products grow steadily in popularity.
The company offers a diverse range of products and services. While clients benefit from reliable access to materials, equipment and technology, MiTek’s most powerful service is an integrated approach to customer service. Manenti understands more than most the value of his clients’ time, and continues to push his team to bring innovative technology to component manufacturers worldwide. On the heels of a historical housing downturn, MiTek Industries Inc. is changing the way the residential and light commercial construction industry does business by offering higher-tech solutions that reduce costs, save time, conserve energy and eliminate headaches. No wonder its tag line is “Better Technology. Better Building.”
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