Reimagining Custom Machining

Jancox Metal Products Inc.
Written by Pauline Müller

After half a century in the machining industry, Jancox Metal Products Inc. remains a trusted partner to well-known names in the North American automotive industry. Based in Mississauga, Ontario, just a stone’s throw from Pearson International Airport in Toronto, the company prides itself on being a dynamic fabrication outfit delivering a sophisticated range of products and services.

Jancox Metal’s customers benefit from knowing that, when dealing with this team of industry experts, they are working with a one-stop shop. “Instead of customers multi-sourcing through multiple vendors, we can work with them and do the whole package. Instead of working with multiple vendors, they can work with us and complete their whole package of parts,” says Mark Gortnar, Operations Manager.

Although the company leads with its reputation for being one of the industry’s best in this field, Jancox Metal does much more than simply supply the automotive industry with checking fixtures and attribute gauges. This manufacturing legend also builds solid relationships with clients alongside durable custom components.

As such, clients enjoy easy access to the considerable industry expertise of its certified manufacturing managers alongside a fully-fledged parts development and engineering department. In addition, the company provides all the extras needed in this field, like anodizing—an electrochemical method for adding decoration and/or corrosion protection to metal—and a range of other metal finishes like plating, painting, and more—all tailored to deliver as comprehensive a solution as possible.

Jancox Metal’s precision-checking fixtures are famous throughout the industry. These inspection tools are applied to determine the quality standard of highly engineered, dynamically shaped machined metal parts and to class these components in relation to their prerequisite dimensions. Similarly, attribute gauges are also used for quality assurance but indicate a part’s compliance with a preset uniformity standard and help decide whether to retain or recycle parts.

As a supplier to some of the largest fabricators on the continent, Jancox Metal Products Inc. takes its mandate seriously. As a result, and thanks to its generous size, the company carries large volumes of stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and other metals in all shapes and sizes. It even uses engineered plastics. That means better lead times than many of its competitors can offer. “We can handle from simple to complex and big to small projects,” says Mark. “We can also handle from one piece to thousands. We push to be a one-stop shop and a partner,” he says.

The company got its start fabricating stamping dies for the automotive industry, welcoming its first customers in 1968. From there, the team began exploring new possibilities, finally settling on developing and producing bespoke checking gauges and performing high-tech machining—again for the automotive industry. Over the years, the company worked hard to be recognized as a market leader, becoming known as an early adopter of change-making standards and industry innovation. In this way, the International Standards Organization’s ISO 9001: 2000 certification standards were a fundamental part of Jancox Metal’s operation long before most other gauge and fixture outfits even considered complying.

“Jancox has been operating as a family business for over 55 years. Joe, my dad, President of Jancox Metal, is still here every day—six, seven days a week. We persevere and we push through. We are determined to keep going,” says Mark. This get-up-and-go sense of tenacity has consistently underscored the company’s drive for quality and evolution for more than five decades.

Its facility is everything a client can expect from a quality bespoke components fabricator. At over 27,000 square feet, staffed with more than 30 team members, around 20 CNC (computer numerical control) machines, a fleet of hand-operated mills and lathes, and everything needed to execute comprehensive servicing like wire cutting, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), and three- to eight-axis machines, this is an outfit that very clearly means business.

Even post-COVID, the business continued to grow. Amid economic drivers like local companies reshoring their manufacturing outfits from Asia and other parts of the world, Mark also notes a trend toward decreasing shipping costs with more components fabricated in North America. With regard to the pandemic period itself, this steadfast leader has nothing but praise for the company’s loyal and dedicated employees. “We had a great team of employees throughout COVID, and we still have those employees. It was hard on [them but] we made it work. Our employees are very dedicated. They understand our customers’ business,” he says.

As a result of strong family values and a commitment to its people, tenures here are typically long, ranging from a decade to three amongst older employees. One of the main pluses of this trend is the generational knowledge and skills that get passed down to the younger generation. Another is that because they have so many years of experience, older employees’ depth of understanding regarding customers’ operations goes a long way to ensuring ease of collaboration and consistent, top-quality parts. “As a family business, [our staff is] part of our family. Some have been here for a long time, and they are like an extended family to us. Some have known me since I was a baby,” Mark says of the company’s team.

To ensure this continuity, Mark and his father go out of their way to hire dedicated young people who, typically, are trained to meet its service and manufacturing excellence standards from the ground up. The approach seems worth the commitment and is evident in the impressive number of longstanding customers the company has garnered over the years. One of this leader’s greatest joys has been to watch the business evolve and expand over the past few decades. For him, the close bonds nurtured with customers over many years give life and vitality to the company and its future.

But leading Jancox Metal Products Inc. and its team through the life and times of North America’s economic fluctuations is not the only notable aspect of Mark’s role as a leader at work, at home, and in the world. He is also part of a much greater picture. Cure for Claire and the Canadian CLN2 Foundation are the family’s charities, established to help support the Gortnar children, Claire and Josef, who, in a rare and heart-wrenching stroke of fate, were both diagnosed with CLN2 as babies.

This genetic disorder and Battens Disease variant debilitates children by affecting the nervous systems, causing them much pain, discomfort, and suffering. Fewer than 20 children in all of Canada are living with this diagnosis, making medical treatment not only highly specialized but also very expensive as a result. Using these two charities as a platform for doing good, the Gortnar family helps to fund research and supports other families who live with the same devastating blow.

Just as the Gortnar family continues searching for solutions to improve the lives of their children, so the Jancox Metal family continues moving forward and evolving in the business arena. Thanks to its diversity, the company ensures that it always has an offering in high demand, irrespective of challenging market conditions. In this way, it continues to diversify and solidify its market share in the industry.

Mark Gortnar is confident that, following its continued stability, Jancox Metal Products Inc. will maintain its footing despite the unpredictability of sudden market changes. Especially since, with few exceptions, lead times on material orders are—for most metal types—past the backlogs that companies battled until recently. As long as they can continue to help stimulate growth and evolution for their customers, this team will continue doing what they do best—delivering quality innovation and fabrication that lasts. In good times and bad, excellence remains the lasting Jancox Metal Products Inc. promise.

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