By Linda Schmid
In 1978, Levi Fisher from Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, saw an opportunity. People wanted nails to match the color of their metal roofing. He began painting the nail heads and people liked it. Levi’s Nail Coatings was begun!
Innovative From the Start
From nails, the company moved to screws, matching metal colors as they had with nails. (Screw heads are painted in the Levi’s facility to this day.) The company name changed to Levi’s Nails and Screws.
In 1995, a new facility was opened in Leola, Pennsylvania, to handle the company’s growth. Recognizing an opportunity in the market, they developed snow guards called Snow Defenders™ in over 50 colors that match metal roofing panels.
New products come from collaboration between customers and the sales group, then getting the R&D group involved, according to Mike O’Hara, National Sales Manager. Everyone works together as a team to find solutions for customers and to keep an eye on trends, colors, and developments in the industry.
The company, now known as Levi’s Building Components, continued to expand and in 2020 they moved to their Brownstown location. They have continued to grow their product offerings.
Innovation can come in forms other than products, such as a process change in manufacturing, speeding up the onboarding of new customers, or getting products into the hands of customers, generally distributors and rollformers, more quickly. The team is always looking for ways to better serve their customers.
Working Together as a Team
While focusing on providing quality products and service, their other core values of growth and integrity apply to both customers and employees.
Teamwork and communication come naturally to the group, according to O’Hara. While they are very serious about their commitment to their core values, they have an unusual way of driving that commitment: daily huddles, game days, birthdays, ping pong matches, corn hole competitions, and anything the team can find to add engagement and rapport to the workplace. This group knows how to have fun and they know that these activities are team-building; work teams function more efficiently because of them.
Like all businesses, Levi’s has had their share of challenges. They were struggling with a space shortage; then they moved into a newly built facility about 2½ years ago and now they enjoy twice the space.
During the worst of the supply chain issues and unpredictable freight delivery times, the leadership team met on a regular basis to talk across departments regarding challenges and working together on solutions. They stressed staying close to vendors to receive real-time updates, and immediately passing this information on to customers. This kind of on-time information facilitates understanding in customers that they are partners and the team is doing everything they can to help.
Building brand awareness takes time, and the company’s inside and outside sales forces have grown, expanding and improving their marketing programs, including partnering with Shield Wall Media. These efforts lead to many new customers in the last few years.
The growth Levi’s has seen required more space with double the employee count in their new state of the art facility. However, it’s not just new employees that are needed; you need the right new employees, O’Hara said. They look for people who have the same mind-set; people who believe in open communication and have a desire to serve. Management should exemplify servant leadership, he added.
“We’ve been able to hire the right people”, O’Hara said. “That’s a result of networking within the industry of metal roofing and the construction industry as a whole. Plus, we have a nice referral program to encourage employees to refer friends and family they believe would be a good fit.”
Further, the company is proud that their product line is ever-expanding. Their most recent addition is their green polyethelene banding material for lumber or metal panels.
Levi’s mission is to be a good steward, educating both employees and customers. Through collaboration and education, the company plans to foster the communities they serve so that everyone grows together. RB