3 Ways A Metal Manufacturer Fine-Tunes Its Services For OEMs: Part 1 - Miller Fabrication Solutions
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3 Ways A Metal Manufacturer Fine-Tunes Its Services For OEMs: Part 1

June 2, 2017

If you’re an OEM working with a metal manufacturer, you already expect the highest quality metal parts, on-time deliveries and cost-saving efficiencies.

So what truly makes a fabrication and metal finishing supplier stand out from the crowd? It
must be the ability to adjust its services to suit OEMs’ most challenging demands, including fast quote turnarounds and product launches, lean manufacturing expertise and inventory control

Simply put, the right metal manufacturing supplier makes your job easier. In this two-part blog series, learn three ways your supplier should fine-tune its fabrication and metal finishing services for your OEM.

1. Speed Up Quote Turnarounds And Product Launches

The right supplier offers convenience in the form of back-office efficiency, especially when it comes to quotes. Quick turnarounds on pricing are only possible if your metal manufacturer allocates resources to designated employees who have the authority to create quotes themselves.

When you request a new part, your supplier should aim to get the part delivered to you within 30 days. It must have employees focused on expediting your product launch from the point of order until the part is finished and ready to ship.

2. Leverage Lean Manufacturing Expertise

The goal of lean manufacturing is to eliminate waste and create flow. The right metal manufacturer focuses on minimizing the seven wastes, which include:

  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Waiting
  • Overproduction
  • Overprocessing
  • Defects

For example, your supplier may use an Andon system, where a welder can push a button and alert a material handler on his pager that the welding station needs more material. This helps to eliminate wasted time.

Your supplier may also practice cellular manufacturing as opposed to traditional department-style manufacturing. By breaking down the metal manufacturing departments and arranging an assembly line within a cell, your supplier keeps the whole value stream in the same location as opposed to having a product bounce around between departments.

Cellular manufacturing reduces lead times and overall throughput times while also allowing your manufacturer to practice quality at the source. Since products are manufactured one at a time instead of in batches, quality issues only occur in single parts and can be fixed before other parts are affected.

Expertise in lean manufacturing also helps your supplier improve changeover time when it stops producing one part and moves on to the next. It should aim for changeovers within nine minutes or less.

The right metal manufacturer should also practice proactive product and inventory control to offer better value for your OEM. Part two of this blog series will cover how product and inventory control help to keep your manufacturing costs down.

Want to learn more about how Miller could fine-tune its services to match your OEM’s needs? Schedule a consultation today.