McShane Metal Products Finding New Business to Survive - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

McShane Metal Products Finding New Business to Survive

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As you walk into the massive warehouse of McShane Metal Products, the blue welding flames are unmistakable.

The 30 plus employees plug away, creating steel machine bases, equipment pieces, and sheet metal boxes.

"I love the idea of building things.  You're going from nothing to something.  To a finished product.  Something that's useable," said Raymond Smith, a fitter and welder. 

One of their newest products includes a device that assists military personnel carrying heavy motors.

"We brought on a product line of military business for special forces.  It enabled us to provide racks and carts for the special forces to be able to hold and maintain their outboard engines," said owner Jim McShane. 

Finished metal boxes are actually what makes up 50 percent of their business.  They make blood sample boxes like the ones you can find at doctor's offices and milk delivery boxes.  Back in 1979 when they started making them, they shipped out a thousand.  This year they'll do more than 50,000.

Their 2012 is off to a great start, but they can't say the same for their most recent years past.

"Business was good but when our customers were off the last two years, our business was off by about 25 percent.  A lot of our larger customers, their business was off a little bit, so we had to go out and find and attract new business, which we were able to do," said McShane.

It's been a trying time for McShane and they haven't been able to invest in new equipment like they'd like.  It all comes down to the basic principles of supply and demand. 

"Material prices have gone up.  We've had increased cost of supplies, increased cost of labor and we've not been able to pass that on to our customers.  So it's made it tougher for profitability," said McShane. 

But as they continue to find new business, their profits are starting to rise once again.  It's figuring out how to get there that's the challenge.

"I like solving problems and there's a lot of problems when you're in business.  So I enjoy that on a daily basis," said McShane. 

They seem to be headed back in the right direction with plans to hire three to five new employees later this year.

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