Mueller, Inc. has been providing great service for decades.
Thousands of people across the U.S. are looking for better building options for their homes and businesses. A young entrepreneur may need cost-effective storage on site for surplus product. A retired couple may want a greenhouse. Some may want to create the perfect work-from-home solution with a separate structure in the backyard.
It can be challenging to figure out what you need, want, and are legally allowed to have. Are you allowed to build on your property, and to that end, do you need a permit from the city to do so? For what, exactly, are you using the building? How many doors—and how big—do you need? Should your build include windows? Is steel or another kind of metal right for you? How will outside influences—like heavy rain or wind—affect your build once it’s complete?
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of similarity between the needs listed above. And, when you figure out what you think you might need, implementing the design and build is time consuming, often stressful, and can be costly.
If you live or work in the Southern United States, however, Mueller, Inc. has the solution for each of these scenarios, and hundreds more.
The company, a “retailer that happens to manufacture”, provides leading metal building solutions in the U.S., and has been doing so for decades. Established over eight decades ago, and proud purveyors of American-made goods, Mueller Supply Company works directly with customers to design, create, and deliver their specific building and roofing needs.
Mueller, A History
Walter Mueller opened the Mueller Sheet Metal Company in Ballinger, Texas in 1931. The foundation to Mueller’s family business was providing quality water cisterns crafted from sheet metal to local farmers and ranchers. Fast forward a couple decades and Harold and James, Walter’s sons, expanded the business to include other sheet metal products related to building construction.
The year 1984 saw the Burly Corp., a privately held Texas company owned by the Davenport family, acquire what was then known as Mueller Supply Company from the Mueller brothers. This move led to rapid expansion, guiding the brand to become the premier manufacturer of pre-engineered metal building and residential metal roofing products.
The company’s headquarters are still located in Ballinger, Texas, but it now serves the entire Central and Southwest United States with 33 branch locations in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
Mueller, Inc. owns and operates three Texas-based manufacturing facilities in Ballinger, Amarillo, and Conroe, as well as one Louisiana-based facility. These locations facilitate the engineering and manufacture of its metal roofing and steel building products. The 750-plus people employed in these locations are proud to produce products that are Made in the U.S.
This network of locations allows for logistical savings in time and freight costs, reaching many different communities throughout the South.
“I’d consider us the Home Depot or Lowes for metal buildings and roofs,” said Mike Fry, Marketing Director at Mueller, Inc. “Our business is supported like a three-legged stool: equal revenue streams from the buildings, roofs, and general components divisions. We don’t have one discipline that dominates the business.”
The Mueller, Inc. Mission
As one Mueller, Inc. employee states in a video on the company’s website, “We believe in value. Not at lowest price, but what works best for the customer.”
The core of Mueller’s success comes down to this, which is supported on a foundation of direct-to-consumer services.
“Mueller, Inc.’s mission is to provide the end user with the ‘Best Overall Value’. To accomplish this, we market directly to the customers who will be using our products and have easily accessible retail stores in local markets that are open to the public,” said Rayome Soupiset, COO of Mueller Supply Company.
“Mueller is a retailer because we want to market to the end user—directly to the public, [and] the person who is really going to use the product they are buying. We stress selling directly to the end user so that we have direct communication with the customer on building requirements, cost, and warranty.”
The company offers products to the end user for the same dollar value it would charge a retail distributor, making it unlikely that the retailer could markup and resell the product and be profitable.
“Our mission statement is to provide the best total value to the end user—you cannot do this by selling through a third-party vendor who adds cost and does not provide a service or add value to the process.”
With You Every Step of the Way
From the time a customer enters a Mueller, Inc. retail store, they are guided through the entire buying process, from design requirements to delivery of their project. Vertical integration throughout the entire business means that Mueller, Inc. can answer every question, provide every product, and help every step of the way.
The company’s sales representatives are there to get the process started with the customer.
“Our sales representatives are true project coordinators who can help define specifications, provide information and guidance, quote projects, and facilitate coordination with local contractors—selected by the end users—for erection of Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings or installation of metal roofs,” Soupiset shared.
Just as a salesperson for Mueller, Inc. provides support to the customer throughout his or her buying process, the salesperson is just as looked after by other employees of the company.
“These sales representatives are supported with roughly a six-to-one support system consisting of engineers, detailers, manufacturing personnel, loaders, accounting personnel, and truck drivers to fulfill the request of the end user, who often needs to be educated on what they are wanting to purchase and the benefits and functionality of different options,” continued Soupiset.
Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings (PEMBs) are only a portion of what Mueller, Inc. manufactures and sells. Each one is a custom building with different sizes, load requirements, and local code enforcement details.
The company offers a wide range of steel buildings, from bolt-together buildings to custom-designed structures. Its buildings offer top-quality 26-gauge steel, many color options, and limited paint warranties up to 30 years.
“The sales person will then enter the data into a design tool to generate a quote. If the customer decides to place an order, the quote generated by the sales representative is electronically transferred to an engineer for review and revisions.
“Once the engineering process has been completed, the data is transferred into a model, known as BIM, where the building is detailed. The required information is data mined from the model, via an open API, and populates work orders for routing the manufacturing and distribution of the order.”
Roof ordering is similar in nature, with a Mueller, Inc. representative assisting customers through the entire process. Talk about high-tech solutions. A metal roof offers a unique look, and a lot of benefits like greater protection from the elements, big energy savings, and durability that lasts. Mueller, Inc. in particular offers 32 designer colors with limited paint warranties up to 30 years.
Quick Turnaround Times, When Necessary
“As the production orders enter the manufacturing process, the different sections of the building can be manufactured simultaneously, which could allow a simple PEMB to go from an idea to a finished product in less than a one-week period of time based on factory work loads.
Most customers do not need this rapid of a turnaround time because site work, foundation design, and the pouring and curing of the slab normally takes longer than a week; however, on rare occasions this is done for time critical jobs,” shared Soupiset.
A business in Abilene, Texas had the misfortune of catching fire and burning down. Each day that passed without a structure was $2 to 3 million down the hole. The company came to Mueller, Inc. just wanting to buy steel beams. Instead, Mueller was able to deliver four truckloads of finished goods—some with the paint still wet—to the business in a fraction of the time.
Not only is Mueller, Inc. committed to helping its customers in whatever bind they may find themselves in, but the company is also dedicated to giving back to its community. Since 2009, the organization has built a structure each year for a qualifying non-profit organization.
“Mueller’s Helping Hand project began [...] when non-profit organizations were affected by the economic downturn. Recognizing these challenges, Mueller wanted to support a deserving organization in their efforts to aid those in need by not only donating a Mueller building, but also erecting it for them.
“Each year in April, we invite Texas non-profits to apply, then the recipient is announced in July and their new Mueller building is erected the first week in October.
“We have personnel from our four state-wide branch networks come to the building site to erect it in just three days. Mueller’s Helping Hand Project not only helps the recipient, but is also a huge team-building exercise for our staff, because we pull from many facets of our company to execute this project each year.”
2016’s Helping Hand build benefited the Floral Heights Community Food Pantry of Wichita County, which serves over 3,000 families each month. When the non-profit applied, it was facing a relocation deadline; the new Mueller, Inc. building helped the organization continue to provide services through the process.
Other nonprofits Mueller has provided a new building for include an organization helping people with disabilities, professionals providing free medical and dental care, and many others. This year’s recipient is the San Antonio Christian Hope Resource Center (CHRC), known for empowering individuals and families in crisis to become sustainable through holistic individualized services and accountability.
Help Choosing the Right Contractor
Although Mueller, Inc. will help design and engineer a customer’s entire product and provide all of the materials, assembly is still required. The company encourages its customers to do extensive research when looking to hire a contractor. Or, if the customer is so inclined, they can hire from one of Mueller, Inc.’s recommendations.
“Even though end users are our focus, contractors are very important to the process and Mueller needs a symbiotic relationship with them because they are the ones erecting our buildings and installing our roofs,” shared Soupiset. “Mueller, Inc. sales representatives, while acting as project coordinators, will often provide a list of qualified contractors to choose from.
“This interaction between Mueller, Inc., the end user, and the contractor ensures communication between all parties. We want the end users to make the best decision for themselves, while allowing us to provide the best overall value to them.”
Once the customer purchases the building and a contractor is set, Mueller, Inc. is off to the races to create the best quality materials for a customer’s build possible.
Technology’s Part in the Process
Mueller, Inc.’s 3D design tool is just one of the many components of innovative technology the company uses to streamline work within its vertical integration business model. It’s computer system, in particular, highlights the company’s cradle-to-grave approach.
“Our software looks at the whole process—from RAW materials to the delivery of finished goods—and separates components of the order to minimize total freight traveled and maximize truck weights. Inventories are maintained in real time so that purchasing can see RAW material demands once an order is entered and BOM and routing are attached,” said Soupiset.
“Order production and delivery are tracked electronically as well, via a LAN/WAN network, and bar codes are utilized at every step to help eliminate human errors. All off-site inventory, or inventory with vendors, is audited daily via a virtual audit and balanced to the pound and linear foot to ensure accuracy.
“All of this information is maintained automatically via CNC machinery. Materials and completions as well as biometric clocks are never manually entered to avoid human error. Reports on scrap rates, on time percentage, and average order size are automatically generated nightly and distributed company-wide for review by key personnel to ensure efficiency throughout the company.”
The Future is Tech
One of Mueller’s goals is to be better tomorrow than it is today. To accomplish this, the leaders at Mueller, Inc. realize that technology is a key driver, which requires rapid and daily change with the ability and fortitude to be willing to invest in technology.
“It may also require walking away from technological investments if better alternatives arise,” said Soupiset.
Technologies that Mueller, Inc. see on the horizon include robotic fitting and welding of unique individual parts, enhanced BIM design and detailing via intelligent connections, big data analytics, RFID tracking, logistical distribution algorithms, artificial intelligence, and more.
Mueller, Inc. knows that Innovation is required for growth.
“We travel the globe looking for innovation and constantly ask ourselves and our customer how we can be better or what products they need. We realize one size doesn't fit all or even one geographic area, so Mueller must constantly morph and change to adapt to customer requirements and needs,” he continued.
“Growth provides opportunities for increased profits as well as employee advancement in the company. We understand that innovation is not a luxury but rather a requirement. Mueller, Inc. is a flat and nimble company adapted to constant change and growth in the market.
“We believe ‘Luck favors the prepared.’”
Best Overall Value
The owner of Mueller, Inc. says it best: “Mueller delivers the best total value, convenient, accessible, quality products, and superior service funded through operating efficiencies and continuous improvement.” owner.
“We’re the only people we’re trying to beat in this market,” shared Soupiset.
Our business began 85 years ago when Walter Mueller opened the Mueller Sheet Metal Company in Ballinger, Texas. He provided high-quality water cisterns crafted from sheet metal to local farmers and ranchers. Over the years, the business expanded to include other sheet metal products related to building construction.
The company was purchased in 1984 by the Burly Corporation, a privately held firm owned by the Davenport family. Ever since, Mueller has experienced rapid growth to become a leading manufacturer of pre-engineered metal buildings and metal roofing products.