Monday, 19 November 2012 by David Tuma
Located in Belton for over 32 years, Belco Manufacturing, a company part of the Denali Group, is known for their production of custom-designed tanks with an in-house engineering team that works together to take care of their customers.
They make tanks for odor control, wastewater, oil industry and municipal uses. Making the tanks isn't as simple as it would seem because most of the tanks have to be corrosion resistant and many are custom orders.
The tanks are made of fiberglass. They not only have an engineering department for design, a welding department to build the molds, but they also apply resin to cure and protect the tanks. When you add a resin, the fiberglass turns to a solid surface protecting the tank. Huge rollers spin the tanks as they are coated with a resin that is custom to the use of the tank.
The day they let the Journal be a part of their operation, they were making a tank for Dow Chemical on the coast. It was a custom order.
They deliver the tanks with their own trucks using custom trailers the company owns. It isn't easy setting up the permits from Belton to South Texas to deliver the tanks; at times they require a police escort.
Their plant spans seven acres and has a hoist that is four stories tall to move the tanks. They also do pipe work for small tanks and for wastewater treatment plants. Some of the piping also requires a special coating to prevent corrosion.
Belco Manufacturing provides tanks for the oil industry, but because of the size and weight of the tanks, their business is mostly regional. Texas and the South are booming with a major expansion in drilling due to new technologies. Their business encompasses Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Meeting deadlines is vastly important in their industry, as well as in their business to retain customers. Because their deadlines are so important, Belco finds employee retention vital to their success. Learning how to properly deal with fiberglass and Belco's manufacturing process takes time. It is an art.
Belco Manufacturing employs 175 people. They provide full benefits including medical and dental to employees. They also share five percent of their profit with employees and are committed to retaining them. It is crucial for the company to maintain a high safety standard in the plant; therefore, they have regular safety meetings.
"Everything starts with the sale. What most of us do here is support manufacturing and sales," said Belco president Steve Macy. "We have terrific people here. Keeping the employee turnover rate very low is important to our success. We treat them with dignity."
Once a sale is made, the project manager coordinates between different engineering departments to make sure that deadlines are met.
"Projects can change after the sale," said Macy. "Flexibility is a big part of our company's success."
"If a customer needs a tank fast, we all work together to meet their needs. Flexibility is a big part of what we do," said operations manager Lloyd Hoelscher while giving a tour of the plant. "That takes lost of coordination from our different departments. Each project requires a lot of amount of coordination. Communication is huge for the company. If you don't like what you are doing then find something else to do. It helps to have a sense of humor."
By meeting with the key staff it was easy to see the importance they place on teamwork to meet their goals. They neither tried to paint a rosy picture that everything worked like clockwork nor that every project was a smooth windless lake. What was clear was that the managers of Belco Manufacturing did their jobs in a professional way and there was no question that the common goal was to take care of the company's customers.
"I hire good people and stay out of their way," said Macy.