M&M MANUFACTURING: 50 Years of Sheet Metal Success

June 1, 2009
Now in its 51st year, M&M Manufacturing provides a wide variety of custom and prefabricated sheet metal products to HVAC contractors in the South Central U.S.

Way back in 1958, M.M. Stepp and Louis M. Watkins purchased the assets of a small bankrupt sheet metal shop in Fort Worth, TX. M&M Manufacturing was born, and 50 years of steady growth followed.

Today, M&M devotes more than 500,000 sq. ft. of space in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston — to custom and prefabricated sheet metal production.

M&M's large inventory of steel allows it to respond rapidly to customer needs, which can change in an instant. Its production philosophy is geared toward keeping manufacturing costs low and efficiency high in a very competitive market.

“We've got a very good regional audience. We provide full service and a wide range of sheet metal products any commercial HVAC contractor might need,” says Bob Cherveny, now in his fourth year as M&M's sales and marketing manager.

Full Service Fabricator

M&M fabricates commercial HVAC ductwork in any configuration at its South Fort Worth and Dallas plants. Those facilities are well outfitted with a wide array of sheet metal artillery and an army of well-trained experienced fabricators. Associated custom contract manufacturing is handled with precision on state-of-the-art laser cutting systems, auto load turret punching systems, and multi-station robotic welding equipment.

“We're able to meet any commercial HVAC contracting duct need, whether it be rooftop curbs, fan curbs, vibration curbs, all the ducting, transition elements, and even special metal fabrication needs such as stairways or access ladders,” Cherveny says. “Our strength is our ability to weld, bend, and process metal into a product HVAC contractors can use.”

M&M stocks a wide variety of standard items for contractors' immediate needs. Stock products include 3- x 20-in. spiral pipe in 10-ft. sections. Special orders, such as 100-ft. of 32-in. lined duct can be provided on short turnaround.

Residential prefabricated products are primarily manufactured at M&M's North Fort Worth and Houston plants. Those HVAC products typically go to market through a network of wholesale distribution suppliers.

To improve the air tightness of ductwork, M&M engineers have developed DucTite®, a line of factory-sealed, “substantially airtight” duct fittings that can be installed without additional field sealing other than the duct connection.

“It's essential that HVAC installations be the highest quality possible, not just the minimum required to pass code,” Cherveny says.

M&M's estimating department is always aware of potential bids that might be coming their way. They gladly accept the challenge, and respond to all bids with consistent pricing to all contractors.

“We subscribe to some of the major construction reports, which publish the large commercial bids. At times, we may have two or three contractors quoting on the same job. We don't play games with our quotes. The same product gets the same price,” Cherveny says, and adds that the key to good contractor/fabricator relationships still lies in listening to contractor needs, and providing quality products at competitive prices.

“We provide what they need when they need it. Service, support, and quality are our primary strengths. We've been here for 50 years and we're not going away,” he says.

Loyal Employees are Safety Conscious

About 70 M&M employees have been with the company more than 20 years. Good attendance is noticed and rewarded. Last year, nearly 100 employees had no absences.

“If a company isn't a good place to work, the employees don't show up,” Cherveny says with a laugh. “We tend to avoid that. Generally, if an employee makes it through two years, we can be pretty certain they'll stay with us.”

It's evident to M&M's employees that the company cares about their safety while on the job. M&M follows an extensive safety program that includes peer-to-peer training. Once on board, a relatively inexperienced fabricator will be closely shadowed by a fully experienced fabricator, to ensure strict adherence to safety and quality.

To stay current with industry developments, personnel from M&M's production facilities are involved with local code committees and regional trade associations.

“This involvement is aimed at providing the latest technology available and remaining in a constant state of communication with our customers,” Cherveny says. “And internally, we try to stay current with advance manufacturing technology. For example we visit the AHR Expo frequently to see what's out there, and find ways to reduce our manufacturing costs. Modern, sophisticated manufacturing technology is all part of that equation.”

M&M's data management system is fast moving towards becoming a totally digital production. Handling huge volumes of data is much easier if it's provided on a thumb drive rather than 10 pounds of blueprints.

Cherveny is impressed by the controls capabilities now available for use with fabricating equipment.

“A competitor might have the same piece of equipment that we have, but if they haven't incorporated new controls, they won't have the ability to do the kind of scheduling that reduces changeouts during production.”

Laser cutting technology is also reaching new heights. M&M employs laser, plasma, and Calypso WaterJet cutting technology, which uses a high-pressure, ultra-thin stream of water mixed with a micro-fine tungsten carbide additive.

“Unlike plasma or oxyacetylene, there's no heat required for water jet cutting systems. It doesn't disturb the metal at all. You can cut tempered glass with it if necessary. It will give excellent cuts in up to 6-in. steel plate,” Cherveny says.

M&M Manufacturing is a genuine, “16-gauge” sheet metal success story. It has weatherd the many storms caused by recessions, consolidations, and the ups and downs of the construction industry. And with 2009 being a rough ride, M&M is buckled in and ready to roll.
mmmfg.com / ductite.com.

About the Author

Terry McIver | Content Director - CB

A career publishing professional, Terence 'Terry' McIver has served three diverse industry publications in varying degrees of responsibility since 1987, and worked in marketing communications for a major U.S. corporation.He joined the staff of Contracting Business magazine in April 2005.

As director of content for Contracting Business, he produces daily content and feature articles for CB's 38,000 print subscribers and many more Internet visitors. He has written hundreds, if not two or three, pieces of news, features and contractor profile articles for CB's audience of quality HVACR contractors. He can also be found covering HVACR industry events or visiting with manufacturers and contractors. He also has significant experience in trade show planning.