Connections That Matter

B&D Cold Headed Products

“We manufacture custom and standard high-strength fasteners for a wide variety of applications as diverse as school buses, military vehicles, grinding equipment, construction equipment, agricultural equipment, and much more. Our core process involves cold forming high quality steel without the use of heat or cutting, which is why our fasteners are stronger than those made through other processes,” says Tim Quick, B&D Cold Headed Products’ Chief Executive Officer.
~
Our lives depend on safety of all kinds. And that is why keeping things together is pretty important. Take, for instance, the example of a semi truck tire tread coming off next to you on the freeway. It can be pretty frightening. Now imagine an entire front wheel weighing 400 lbs. coming off a long-haul truck at 70 miles an hour. The results are potentially devastating.

The importance of investing in the strongest metal fasteners possible – both on vehicles and everywhere else – is obvious. B&D Cold Headed Products of Taylor, Michigan makes products that are trusted for their proven quality and high-performance and fabricates these products using the cold-forming method that has given the company its name.

The company is especially favored for its strong wheel bolts and studs used in axles on a wide variety of equipment. “Our brand has become known for extreme durability and reliability,” says Tim. This reputation has led to the company doubling in size in the past three years. It currently supplies clients in Germany, Italy, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.A., and its customers benefit from its easy-access to first-class steel suppliers and processors thanks to its proximity to Michigan’s large car manufacturers.

The company’s standard range is huge, and everything is produced in the U.S. to the highest standards. Its custom fasteners are also known for combining the best that its innovative product engineers and the operations departments at Fortune 500 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have to offer.

One such custom development occasion resulted in the solution it came up with when approached by a waste contractor whose truck wheels were coming off. B&D Cold Headed Products approached three other big names in the industry, each with a different forte, and this group of experts collaborated to develop ‘Wheel Torque Solutions,’ preventing wheels from detaching from the axle.

This company’s products keep Americans safe every day in a vast range of applications. B&D Cold Headed Products fabricates its products using the cold-forming method, a far better option to hot forming and cutting methods. In cold heading, steel coils of varying grades of carbon steel are passed through a series of dies that form the rod into the exact shape needed. The threads are then added. The parts are then heated and cooled at carefully controlled rates to attain Customer specification.

B&D Thread Rolling, Inc., doing business as B&D Cold Headed Products, was the brainchild of Al Doyle, a metalworker from Detroit, Michigan. Al had a day job in the late 1960s, but he saw the potential to do more and jumped at the opportunity. He bought a thread rolling machine and started in his garage on a number of support projects for his employer.

Al and his son Dennis continued building the business by investing in new machinery and systems and turned his sideline into one of the Midwest’s most respected operations. Al passed away in 2005, but Dennis continued to build the operation into the $30 million company it is today. It implemented lean manufacturing in 2009, and the results were lower costs to customers and less waste. Its next big overall system upgrade came in 2012 when the company decided to consolidate its financial and manufacturing protocols into a single, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. This has been continuously improved on by adding systems that allow for better product traceability, amongst other functions.

“At the same time, we also started moving to paperless solutions throughout our company which has improved workflow and reduced transactional friction on many levels,” says Tim. The company has invested in cybersecurity in recent years to protect the data of its customers and itself.

The company’s enthusiasm for top-quality products and customer service has culminated in a low customer and employee turnover. “Many of our biggest customers are companies we’ve been serving for decades. As they have grown, we have supported them along the way. Our managers are also extremely loyal. In a world where people are used to working for many different employers over their career, we have found it to be very rare for employees to leave once they understand our culture and decide it’s for them,” says Andy Sanderson, Chief Financial Officer.

Andy arrived in 2008 after spending many years in the aerospace industry. “I was able to work with Tim and Dennis to help the company develop the right teams internally and externally to pave the way for future growth and success,” he adds.

Part of this approach included thorough training and ongoing learning. Securing access to an ever-growing pool of master craftsmen can be tough in an industry where talented people are hard to come by. Luckily, the company has discovered its greatest talent spotters are its employees, some of whom have been here for over forty years. “Great people tend to recognize other great people. They’re not only the best source of other talent, but great employees are also the best recruiters of that talent,” says Andy. Its strengths of its diverse team of eighty are every bit as strong as its products.

B&D Cold Headed Products’ professionals care about its products, and mentorship is a given here. People pass on knowledge to each other all the time. “We truly desire to do the impossible for our customers and partners. That’s why we treat everyone like family,” says Josh Bardwell, business development manager.

B&D Cold Headed Products offers competitive pay and benefits, time off is flexible, and staff are very well-supported during times of personal trauma and hardship. The company also offers flexible spending accounts, tuition reimbursement, wellness incentive programs, team sports sponsorships, company sponsored events, an emphasis on work-life balance, and much more.

The company vision is to be passionate about connecting the things people care about. “This is really a statement about our product which connects the components of important machinery being used around the world. But it’s also a statement about the connections we make with our customers to give them a knowledgeable team that can provide solutions they need,” says Andy. B&D Cold Headed Products links its clients with its experts and reliable suppliers and believes in joining people to one another and the communities in which they live.

The company is as generous towards its community and ensures that all the charities it supports have special significance for at least one of its employees. Last year, the company was a proud sponsor of the Peruvian FIBA women’s basketball team. The Huntington’s Disease Society of America is one of its oldest beneficiaries. The organization is a sponsor assisting individuals and their families in coping with the incredibly debilitating brain condition.

It is working on a program that will allow members to donate some of their working hours to community outreach initiatives. It supports the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative (MiHC) leaders who support Hispanic students in reaching their academic and professional goals. And it is developing another new program, B&D Cares, through which it will assess new charities and community projects quarterly to add even more to local organization’s efforts.

Some of its employees also speak at local schools to educate and inspire young people who are deciding on their future career paths. For students who would like to join the company, there are internships and scholarships available.

B&D is respected for standing behind its products and for caring about the customer. “Our business values and beliefs are reflected in the quality of our products, our competitive prices, and our superior customer service,” Jennifer Green, Marketing Director.

Further employee investment lies ahead as does increased community and environemental engagement. “We want to increase our involvement in the environment by promoting a better quality of life and a safer environment not only with the products we manufacture but also with our everyday decisions and actions,” says Jennifer.

Transporting Soldiers, Police and Firefighters

When you think of vehicle manufacturing, images of SUVs, sports cars and family-friendly hatchbacks likely come to mind. There exists, however, a parallel manufacturing vehicle manufacturing sector devoted to products that typically aren’t sold to consumers. Non-consumer vehicles include everything from police cars and motorcycles to fire trucks and battle tanks.

Past Issues

April 20, 2019, 10:10 PM EDT