No matter how long you’ve been in business, no matter how successful you are, there’s always something that can be done better. I’ve seen that firsthand, as I’ve worked with companies that are 100 years old, those that are just starting out and others at every stage in between. What all these companies have in common is a need to improve the efficiency and value of their products, much of which can be accomplished by reducing the costs of metal fabrication.
Technological advancements over the last decade have produced leaps equal to those realized over the previous 30 years: Processes have become very specific. Equipment has become specialized. Tooling solutions have simplified labor processes and increased component efficiency, driving down production costs.
Those improvements in technology can only do so much — there has to be someone in the organization responsible for implementing change and asking the question, “How can this be done better?” This is particularly important as production volumes increase.
There are many possible answers to this question. Perhaps your organization needs to purchase updated equipment to ultimately cut down on fabrication expenses, but it may take a long time before you see that return on investment. A more likely solution is to evaluate your business partnerships and determine if there are areas in which another vendor can meet your needs while reducing your overall fabrication costs. Consider the technology in use, quality of components, material consumption, delivery speed and anything else that could enhance your product.
Partnerships can offer huge gains in productivity and significantly reduce operating costs. For example, Mainstay works with a company whose aging equipment no longer produces the quality of work it needs. We have equipment capable of cutting to the specifications this company needs, and we buy some materials they need by the truckload, allowing them to get what they need for a reduced cost. Through our partnership, they were able to gain production capacity on their equipment, save money on labor and reduce machine consumables costs. We also worked out a just in time kanban inventory system so they are never short of stock. This partnership saves our client time and money, but perhaps most importantly, it allows them to focus on what’s ahead.
Efficient partnerships are crucial to business success, but it has to be the right fit. It takes thoughtful, strategic efforts to identify not only obstacles but also the partner that has the right advantage to remove it.