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EXCELLENCE DRIVEN BY CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT – The best way to describe what this means to you as a customer is to share a story.

Recently, we were asked to submit a quote for a part where a new customer was having a challenge. We were sent the models, the drawings, the EAU — everything we would typically need to prepare and submit a quote. It would have been straightforward.

We took a different approach — one that took no more time, but added a lot more value for our customer, their customer, and everyone involved.

First, we scheduled an internal review of the information we were sent to determine if we had any questions and initial observations. We did.

Then we scheduled an initial discovery call with our customer to share our observations and gather some additional background on the part and the challenges they were having. This turned out to be very valuable and allowed our respective teams to get to know one another. That was also important.

It turned out there were cost and quality challenges that needed to be addressed quickly. The specific part had originally been cast and machined by two separate vendors in North America. Costs became too high and there were quality issues in machining, so the part was assigned to a new vendor overseas. Costs went down, but quality concerns persisted and there were challenges in communication and accountability as to who owned the challenge.

Working collaboratively with our customer, we implemented some required design modifications that did not impact performance or specifications to their end customer. This eliminated the design and casting challenges. We also engaged our lead manufacturing resources from the outset to identify efficiencies in the work plan. The final work plan was optimized to provide full accountability and quality control from start to finish at a lower cost than what our customer was currently paying. The solution was provided by one vendor, so no ambiguity existed on who was responsible for the success of the project.

In no more time than it takes to provide a standard casting/machining quote (with efficient scheduling of time and resources), our customer received a full quote package which contained the information shown below. Given this was a new customer, we included some corporate information as well, which is important when bringing on a new vendor. We also shared all of the minutes and observations shared throughout the process.

SM Blog April2022 Table 2

In discussions with our customer near the end of the process, they commented, “No one has ever asked us the questions you did.”

This might explain why some of the problems that our customer was having continued to persist over the past two years.

At Standard Manufacturers, we have invested heavily in our relationships with new and existing customers over the past 40 years. We would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your initiatives and your aluminum casting and machining needs in the months and years ahead.