Category: Uncategorized

YEP Lights Partners with OMS in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa. (December 17, 2018) Roger Blakesley is the owner and operator of Yard Engineered Products in Iowa and when the economy crashed he came up with the idea of producing an outdoor lighting product for homeowners that would reflect their own interests and aesthetics.  The main goal was to take his daughters artwork, wrap the designs around a strong tube that is laser cut so that the image shines through in the evening.

Sourced Locally:

Yep Lights went with a metal processor close to home to take on it’s new product. It just so happened that Roger Blakesley has worked at O’Neal Manufacturing Services (OMS) for 28 years. OMS who is a supplier of fabricated components and welded assemblies runs an industrial- scale laser cutting operation in Cedar Falls. Describing the process Blakesley states, “OMS takes our artwork and puts it into a usable format and program so it can be produced on their tube laser.” Along with that, the top of the tube is cut to accept the solar light and the bottom of the tube is cut to create steaks. Yep Lights does production runs at OMS every couple of months.

The Process: 

In producing a new design, “we bring in a hand drawn picture of the artwork we want.” Everything goes through the OMS sales department. The drawing goes to the engineering department, and an engineer looks over the artwork. Sean Alexander, Account Manager at OMS handles the Yep Lights account. He sums up the production process by saying, “on a new design, they will give us the artwork and we digitize that into CAD models, view it electronically and program it, then quote total cut time for the material.” Sean also manages any repeat orders, and conducts price reviews as they move through material pricing, and produce new quotes as designs change. He adds that, “Yep Lights purchase the raw material through us, too. Our supply chain team takes care of all those orders.”


For more about this article and how OMS helped Roger Blakesley achieve his dream, visit:


Facility Spotlight: OMS Pittsburgh

Check out this week’s “Facility Spotlight” on our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania plant! This facility first opened in 1993 as a part of O’Neal Steel and separated from ONS in 2011, becoming an O’Neal Manufacturing Services plant.

General Manager, Gus Cassida, has been working for our company for 22 years now. When asked what makes Pittsburgh unique, he states that the facility handles big machining and forming by formulating a strategic approach to attacking large, difficult parts.

As our most eastern location, Pittsburgh specializes in many industries including mobile cranes, aerial work platforms, rail car, and bridge. Cassida shared that Pittsburgh excels in maintaining continuity with sales while also making smart decisions for the company.


Facility Spotlight: OMS Louisville

Stay up-to-date on our Louisville plant with this week’s “Facility Spotlight.”

While some of our other facilities may specialize in select industries, Louisville serves a variety including material handling, aerial lift, heavy rail, heat transfer, and ancillary rail.

Kevin Hauntz, OMS Sales Manager of 30 years, shared many highlights regarding our Louisville facility. He began by stating “Diversification is our niche,” meaning that the facility excels in many different areas.

When asked what makes Louisville unique, Hauntz shares that this facility has an “extremely experienced workforce,” with many tenured employees, all with above average knowledge when dealing with complex metal fabrication. He also stressed that Louisville really “runs the gamut by design.”

Set in the largest city in Kentucky, our Louisville plant has been located in a 125,000-square foot facility since around the 1980s. 


Facility Spotlight: OMS Houston

We are excited to share another “Facility Spotlight” post on our Houston, Texas facility.

George Torres, OMS Account Manager, went into detail of milestones Houston has experienced in the past few months. Since Torres joined the OMS team two years ago, our Houston facility has transitioned from the original location, which opened back in 1988, to a new plant that they moved into February 2018 . He shared many benefits regarding the move, stating that “The new warehouse is laid out more efficiently, causing workflow and moral to improve as a result.”

Additionally, Houston is currently implementing a paint booth. By adding a paint booth, Houston has been able to pursue new business and pick up new accounts. Weldments that require painting can now be done in house and will no longer have to be done separately.

When asked what makes Houston unique, Eric Simpson, OMS Sales Manager, states that “Houston is right in the center of a huge amount of energy, rail, heavy equipment, and general fabrication manufacturers and contractors.” Simpson believes Houston’s greatest strength is “working out exceptionally cost-effective solutions for customer needs” not only in Texas, but in surrounding states as well.

Stay up-to-date on our other five facilities in the upcoming weeks as we share more “Facility Spotlight” posts.


Facility Spotlight: Iowa Laser

Get to know our locations with our “Facility Spotlights” — Cedar Falls, Iowa is the home of Iowa Laser Technology, an O’Neal Manufacturing Services acquired company as of 2012. 

Chad Meyerhoff, Iowa Laser’s Sales Manager, has worked for the company for 24 years now. He shares that Iowa Laser’s laser cutting capabilities is what separates the company from OMS’s other six facilities. While other facilities within O’Neal Manufacturing Services may specialize in a thicker sheet plate, Iowa Laser specializes in 11 gage-¾ inch sheet thickness.

Meyerhoff states that Iowa Laser was founded in 1978 and began when laser technology was first starting. The company continued to grow as technology evolved, and people of the Iowa community began to view Iowa Laser as their “laser cutting go-to.”

During the transition from being privately-held to becoming apart of OMS facilities in 2012, Meyerhoff believes the most important thing was the help from the OMS corporate staff to understand the system and what was expected of the company. Through OMS, Iowa Laser has reached a “wider customer base,” one of the positive aspects he believes stems from OMS acquiring Iowa Laser.

Check out our page next week for the “Facility Spotlight” on our Houston, Texas location. #LetsBuildThings

4 Tips for Fire Prevention in Manufacturing

It’s easy to get complacent about the sparks that fly around a manufacturing workplace. With things like welding happening all around us, sometimes we forget that sparks are a real safety hazard – and they can ignite a fire if we’re not diligent about fire safety.

Read on for four tips to help your manufacturing workplace prevent fires.


Even if it’s just a small welding job, protective clothing is a must. Sparks can be caught in collars, cuffs, or pockets, which is why personal protective equipment (PPE) is so essential during the welding process. Not wearing the proper attire can result in a very serious accident, even if the job seems like a simple, low-risk operation.


Do you know how far sparks actually fly? The answer is about 35 feet – and they can stay hot enough to be a fire hazard, too. While it’s not usually possible to have that wide of a safe zone, it is possible to consider potential problems within that space, and make protective changes accordingly.


It takes sharp focus to weld, which means that welders can easily be unaware of combustible items nearby (think flooring, partitions, and walls). Welding must be performed away from gasses, chemicals, plastics, or other flammable materials – even heavy dust vapors can pose a hazard. Welders must be aware of everything within the danger zone and take precautionary measures before beginning the job.


Hot metal can tuck itself away in cracks or crevices around a welding area, causing major problems. It may not be possible to seal every crack in the building, but even taking care of some of the more obvious ones can really help to reduce the risk of a fire. Keep working fire extinguishers nearby and make sure your employees know how to use them


Safety is very important to us here at O’Neal, and we’re not willing to compromise when it comes to preventing fires on our manufacturing floor. That’s just one of the ways we strive to achieve the highest standard in the industry – and when you work with O’Neal, you’ll see just how far we rise above the competition. Learn more about us today.

Closing the Skills Gap

Manufacturing has come face-to-face with a skills gap as older workers retire and younger workers are few. There will be an estimated 3.5 million manufacturing jobs left vacant over the next 10 years, and as many as 2 million of those jobs could go permanently unfilled as retiring workers take decades of experience with them.

How can we solve this problem and close the skills gap? Read on to find out.


One of the reasons behind America’s skills gap is the lack of funding for proper training programs. This issue has prevented students across the country from accessing the education they need to succeed in careers like manufacturing. Even though we desperately need young people to go into these fields, they don’t – and because there isn’t enough funding for trade skill programs from middle school through university, many students aren’t gravitating toward those lines of work.

The action step here is simple: students need to understand that trade skills are a viable alternative to the traditional undergraduate, graduate, office job career path. They may even find that skilled trades are more fulfilling work and offer more opportunities. But they’re not likely to understand these things unless trade education improves.


The second half of this equation is the stigma many people have regarding skilled trades. Often, people who work in utilities, manufacturing, or the like are seen as “unsuccessful” – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Not only do skilled trades offer a large amount of job security, they also provide opportunities for career advancement. Many people who work in fields like manufacturing report high levels of satisfaction in their work, citing good pay, good benefits, and a feeling of fulfillment. The issue, though, is that careers like medicine and law are still seen as more successful – and until that changes, the skills gap will likely remain a problem for our country.


Here at O’Neal, we know firsthand the positive effect a thriving manufacturing industry can have on a city. We believe wholeheartedly in what we do, and we’re looking for that next generation to take O’Neal another hundred years into the future. Interested in learning more about who we are and what we do? Find out more about us today.

The Importance Of Supply Chain Managers

Many years ago, I managed an onsite VMI (vendor managed inventory) location for Class C items at a global agricultural equipment manufacturer. Think of Class C items as fasteners, or nuts and bolts – typically higher-volume, low cost, and “less critical” production components.

Listening for customer feedback in that environment was easier because I was “inside the machine.” Still, today, I hear customers say, “No news is good news,” and it reminds me how an engaged, consistent supplier can affect the supply chain. In today’s ocean of distractions, the best suppliers often manage their business with few ripples, and respond the best when waves hit.


Regardless of Class A, B, or C product classes, when a big enough wave struck – a critical quality problem or overseas freight stuck at the port causing a “Line Down” – the effect was the same. Supply chain managers stepped in to help resolve the issue expeditiously. My response was critical to managing the relationship. Taking proactive steps to mitigate inevitable, yet unexpected, issues in a B2B relationship shows a commitment and understanding of a shared mission.

Supply chain managers at large equipment manufacturers have cross-functional roles, including:

  • Planning
  • Purchasing
  • Production
  • Transportation
  • Storage & distribution
  • Risk mitigation
  • Supplier development

They execute strategy and help create a foundation to achieve company revenue targets, reduce costs, and implement change. They create solutions.


Industrial production will always ebb and flow, which creates challenges in managing the labor force. When an industry is in growth mode, supply chain roles are a prime area of professional advancement.

(For more information on industrial production forecasts, the Manufacturer’s Alliance for Productivity and Innovation publishes a quarterly report that provides a detailed look at the health of the domestic manufacturing sector.)

Many global OEMs have defined strategies for managing talent pre- and post-growth cycle. A typical scenario includes targeting industrial or materials engineering graduates for entry-level engineering positions, then coaching them on the fast track to supply chain management (SCM) roles during growth cycles.

The main challenge in filling the talent pipeline is determining how to transfuse the shop floor experience of retiring SCMs. Theoretical training is valuable, but has its limits. Drilling holes for 8 hours a day or being a part of a manufacturing team that “does what it takes” for customers — each provides a very different learning environment.


As a supplier of metal components, fabrications, and weldments to OEMs, one of our most prized commercial roles is facilitating knowledge transfer. It’s not uncommon for a new “Supply Chain Manager-Fabrications” to ask why a hole tolerance of .003″ is consistently unachievable cutting 1/2″ plate on a sheet laser.

On a handful of occasions, we’ve opened up our plants to recently-promoted SCMs for tours to discuss the many facets of fabrication, from cutting technologies and post-weld machining to launch and order fulfillment processes.


We’ve gained an immense library of tribal knowledge over the last 90 years. Any of our7 North American locations are available for tours to learn more about basic or advanced metal fabrication.  Get in touch with us.

3 Benefits Of Supplier Consolidation

You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “less is more,” but does that apply to supply chain integration – and if so, how? It may seem like using fewer suppliers would put a manufacturer in a less stable position, both in terms of bidding competitively and risking the possibility of one of those suppliers going out of business.

However, because supplier consolidation happens after the bidding process, that shouldn’t be an issue – and if you’re only using trusted suppliers, you shouldn’t have to worry about them going out of business. Due diligence goes a long way in making supplier consolidation a reality, and once you’ve decided to do it, you can reap the following four benefits.


The whole purpose of supply chain integration is better communication, so it makes sense that working with fewer suppliers would help to facilitate that. If they’ve already proven themselves enough that you have decided to work with them, then why not work with them even more closely? If you find a supplier who consistently comes through for you, take full advantage of everything they have to offer.


When you give your suppliers more of your business because you trust them, it puts you in a great position with them. They’ll offer you preferred pricing, more access to extended services, and priority service over less dedicated customers. You can also expect better access to upper management and a greater willingness to provide customized or small shipments.


When you consolidate suppliers, you’re ordering more items – and ordering them more often – from those suppliers. This makes ordering and shipping more streamlined, and cost-effectiveness is greatly improved. Shipments can be combined, and because you’re ordering more often, you’ll need to keep less inventory on hand. Essentially, your suppliers will become like an extension of your company, and you’ll get to know their people almost as well as you do your own.


We play an active role in helping our customers maintain a global level of competitiveness by focusing on reliability and offering a world-class supply chain combined with a high level of expertise. Ready to start a conversation? Contact us today.