Custom Metalforming from a Relationship Based Manufacturer
HK Metalcraft—manufacturers of high-quality custom precision metal stampings, folded metal gaskets, spring washers, formed products, and related assemblies—is a family-owned business. But while many owners and operators of these small businesses would say this is their company’s defining factor, that’s not the case for Josh Hopp, the President of HK Metalcraft
“I really don’t think that’s the difference maker,” Hopp shared. “Because we are a small company, I know all of our employees, and our employees’ families. I used to work at a large corporation, and I felt like a number not a person. Yes, we’re a family-owned business—my great grandfather founded HK Metalcraft—but I think being an effective small company is what sets us apart from others in the industry.”
Hopp was able to provide several meaningful examples of the company culture, but there was one anecdote that stood out above the rest. There wasn’t a company in the U.S. that came out of the Great Recession that started in 2008 completely unscathed. HK Metalcraft experienced some of the same tough economic times, and had to make some difficult decisions when it came to staffing.
Instead of laying off employees however, the company went to a four-day work week, with every full-time employee signing on to take a 20 percent pay decrease.
“We didn’t lay off a single full-time employee. We’re invested in the people who work for us, and their well-being,” said Hopp.
As the economy recovered, so too did HK Metalcraft. Soon the company was back to five days a week for all of its departments.
This incredible company culture doesn’t end with how Hopp and the leadership treat the employees either. HK Metalcraft is committed to maintaining strong relationships with the manufacturing industry as a whole.
“Our partners in manufacturing tend to also be smaller family businesses,” Hopp shared. “We work with a lot of companies that run similarly to HK. The idea isn’t just to have a supplier, but to be partners and work together.
“If we have a deburring project for example, and our supplier is deburring it too much, we’ll go to the supplier and work with them. We had an instance where our purchasing manager and engineer went to the supplier to experiment with their engineer on just what we needed. It evolved our relationship and help make both of our products and services better.”
Hopp also mentioned an instance when one of HK Metalcraft’s own customers was having issues with HK’s gaskets. The company approached the solution in much of the same way, asking for information and images to show them what was going wrong. HK was immediately able to identify that the problem was the customer’s assembly, not the gasket. The expertise of our products allows us to assess and make confident recommendations.
“Working together is so much more rewarding than working for someone,” Hopp shared.
Hopp is dedicated to maintaining a presence in the industry as well; HK Metalcraft has been a member of the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) for decades. His father, Raymond, was chairman in 1996, and Hopp learned the importance of working with other people in the industry—even competitors—from him.
“It’s a wonderful organization that brings people in the industry together. We talk about management and efficiency ideas, schedule plant tours, have webinars. My father told me that he used to go to the PMA meetings and everyone was a business colleague, and now everyone is my friend.”
Hopp is also a part of a next-generation group within PMA called It’s Just Business (IJB). This brings together the next generation of leadership for companies, who have the passion and drive to grow and do good things for their companies, and gives them an opportunity to learn from each other.
Another organization that HK works closely with, the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), has become part of the fabric of HK Metalcraft, not just because of the company’s long involvement in the association. The organization created an award in Hopp’s late father’s honor—Raymond Hopp Award for Excellence, with is essentially a lifetime achievement award for manufacturing.
“My father was truly committed to the morality of business. He told me that if you run a business in such a way that it makes it hard to look at yourself in the mirror, the money isn’t worth it. A lot of my leadership style is based on this.”
This approach to business has kept HK Metalcraft—and its bread-and-butter product since the 1940s, folded metal gaskets—honest and successful for its long history. The company ships 75 million folded metal gaskets every year to nearly every industry, including automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, and others.
The company also offers custom metal solutions, with customers sending in designs for products HK had never made previously.
“At the end of the day, HK Metalcraft doesn’t really sell products: we sell an expert process, and manufacture these products in the most effective process. Many of our customers could choose to make their own products, but they know we offer a high-quality, cost-effective option not seen elsewhere in the market.”
HK Metalcraft is privately held and was incorporated in 1926. The Hopp family continues its third generation of leadership.
The company is headquartered in Lodi, NJ, with 50,000 square feet of office, manufacturing, and warehouse space. Approximately 35,000 square feet is used for manufacturing processes, raw and finished goods inventory and shipping and receiving functions. About 6,000 square feet is devoted to the tool room, where dies are built and repaired, and to maintenance functions. Another 9,000 square feet is dedicated to engineering, sales and marketing, and administrative functions.
By providing quality products at competitive prices, we have become a valued and trusted partner to many companies that count on our individual attention, custom engineering, modern manufacturing methods, trained and dedicated employees—and our management commitment to customer satisfaction.
Let us offer you reliable design and production advice and assistance to make your product or project successful.
35 Industrial Road,
Lodi, New Jersey 07644
Website – www.hkmetalcraft.com