Allan Industrial Coatings
No matter the product or fabrication on the assembly line, it needs to be finished, and that’s where Allan Industrial Coatings (AIC) steps in. The Iowa-based, full-service firm has been meeting the ever-changing needs of some of the world’s largest original equipment manufacturers (OEM) for 16 years, evolving into a multifaceted industrial coatings company.
AIC originated in 1979 as a small two-man operation, painting barns and houses. “Brothers Dave and Monte Allan founded the company,” shares Steve Hayes, president of AIC. “In 2005, after years in the manufacturing industry, I was looking to buy a small company.”
Evolving into an Industrial Powerhouse
With about 30 years split between engineering at an industrial gas company and working in the financial world, Steve realized he enjoyed running his own business and saw an opportunity to do so.
“I noticed a trend,” he explains. “Large OEM companies were exporting painting and coatings outside of their facilities and I knew there was a way to capture that business. I purchased AIC in 2006 and I got the tiger by the-tail, so-to-speak, and we’ve grown rapidly ever since.”
When Steve acquired AIC in 2006, the company had 30 employees; it now over 200. “Right now, we’re ramping up for some large projects,” shares Steve. “We’ll build up past 200 employees if needed.”
Today, AIC serves the Midwest with four facilities in Iowa. “We have two locations in Allison, Iowa, including our 60,000-square-foot powder coating and a 40,000-square-foot autophoretic facility,” notes Steve. “We also have a conveyor line liquid paint operation in Waterloo, Iowa, and a batch liquid and batch powder facility in Greene, Iowa. We generally serve customers anywhere in about a 250-mile radius, but we have some clients throughout the country.”
Since the company’s founding, AIC has emerged as one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest. “We’re probably the largest in this region in terms of our standalone commercial operation,” adds Steve. “We do a whole range of services, from powder coating to liquid painting, bead blasting to autophoretic coating and sandblasting. We work with some of the largest OEMs in the country.”
According to Steve, the big-name OEMs demand high-quality painting. “We have to meet their high standards, including the constraints of delivery times and production schedules,” he says.
In-house Versatility at Work
With four facilities, AIC offers in-house versatility to match the various needs of a diverse set of customers. The company’s automated powder coating facility in Allison is complete with advanced finishing equipment and a quick-change color powder booth that provides smooth, durable finishes.
From small plastic components to heavy castings and assemblies, AIC can coat and finish nearly anything. “We’ve coated large jack drives up to 50,000 pounds at our Greene facility,” says Steve. “We did 276 of them this year for the oil industry; put them in sea containers where they’re then shipped off to Singapore. We can coat and finish products up to 45 feet by 20 feet and sometimes we’ll even get large infrastructure orders; parts such as bridge railings and lighting poles to sandblast and powder coat.”
Steve goes on to explain that at any given time, AIC has a list of 75 large OEM companies it is working with. “We do basically everything in-house,” he elaborates. “A former employee runs an AIC subsidiary that does all of our sandblasting.”
Despite a long list of big-name clients, Steve says manufacturing has been an extremely challenging industry in the last several years. “We’re heavily based in agricultural manufacturing, but we’ve had maybe 35 less clients during this past year due to OEM customers cutting back their activities,” he explains.
As a response, AIC has implemented key performance indicators and measures to track quality control. “I’ve always stressed quality control from the beginning,” assures Steve. “We’ve worked to provide each production manager with something to measure daily performance. We’ve even developed our own software and hired programmers to link it to QuickBooks.”
Steve goes on to note that he is very involved. “Every day, I get a matrix of our production,” he continues. “We’re trying to implement a precise way to track business and we’re striving for the same kind of measurements that a Fortune 500 company would have.”
Steve says the new measures have allowed him to better manage AIC from afar in Des Moines, Iowa. “I can see everything that’s going on from what we ship to tracking parts,” he explains. “We get a series of what’s called flash manager reports that tell us where we’re at. It’s been critical to business and given me and my managers’ greater control.”
Over the last 16 years, AIC has managed to overcome industry challenges by increasing its versatility and responding to the needs of ever-changing OEMs. From small parts to large-scale infrastructure components, Allan Industrial Coatings has it covered.