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Three ways to profit by working it smart

Improve margins; increase machining performance

Effort is money and in that regard, for a large segment of metalworkers, things can seem like they’re all conspiring against you. If your business is cutting, milling, turning, grinding or drilling metals you know the devil is in the details—often at a microscopic level. Yet to remain competitive, your business must run the gamut from maintaining your tools’ edge to honing your competitive edge. And with so much emphasis on players, logistics and regulations you can easily lose touch with your wheelhouse—where money is effort.

As a supply chain, you earn your spot in a group design. The more leverage you have the more control you enjoy. But depending on the job, the further down the line you are, the more pressure you feel. The resulting squeeze leaves you with narrow but familiar margins you’re often just happy to have. If you could see it from 50,000 feet you’d observe two things 1) a customer fixed on outcome and 2) YOU earnestly trying to do the same but tied to the critical minutia of actually producing the parts while controlling cost. You know just how easily hard-earned profit can slip away in a single misstep. The takeaway? You must work it smart.

Staying fit for the supply chain

Sometimes it’s helpful to start with reflection.

Functional parts require a supply chain designed for cost-efficiency. At the end of the day your service must help someone else improve yet another’s overall capital return on investment. Otherwise you’re not the right supply chain fit in the first place. You’re not, as they would say, integral to the solution.

Look at it another way. Your customer could fail if he doesn’t deliver a good product at a precise cost-efficiency. To do this, resources and all processes must be tightly aligned with the overall strategy. Needless to say, a large part of that strategy has to be ROI. Further, to ensure a predictable outcome, your customer must make regular strategic adjustments to various supply chains. It can be rigorous and dynamic. Your role is to be compliant while you manage both ends.

There’s a lot on the line to stay fit. But if you’re working it smart you’re tending to the job at hand, improving margin by increasing [machining] performance. That’s a win-win.

Working it smart—3 insights

“One tool at 950˚ will last five times longer than a tool at 1000˚
—a reduction of 500 quintuples tool life! — M. Eugene Merchant 1936

You know your business better than anyone. You know the kind of projects you tend to attract. And you know how to be successful and profit from your efforts. Here are 3 mantras for metalworkers I think cover it all.

Each one is a big topic that, given proper attention, will help you work it smarter. I offer a very brief thought starter with each one. Can you find inspiration to start a new conversation around working it smarter in your shop?

 1. Better parts

Perhaps the best parts are the parts that can be counted. According to a recent study of automobile supply chain chiefs, the sharing of real-time demand and inventory data was ranked as a greater challenge than cost containment.

 2. More productivity

The most basic tenant of productivity is to keep the machine running. Consider your machine downtime cost at, 125, 150 or $200 an hour or more. Next, consider that you can lose 5 to 15% on productivity by mismanaging cutting fluid. It’s not a one size fits all when you’re talking about optimal productivity. Use the right coolant for the type of cutting you’re doing (they often vary). The wrong concentration can dull tools and a good tramp oil skimmer will prolong the life of the fluid, managing both will save downtime and give you more productivity.

3. Longer tool life

Tools are expensive. Removing material as fast as possible with the least amount of time, effort and waste is dependent upon maintaining tool edge.

You may receive an order from an industry that may require machining materials or alloys that you are not familiar with or at least not in your normal scope of operation.

Finish requirements, speed and feed time might cause the job to take longer than you bargained for (less productivity). Venturing into the unknown and creating excessive cutting temperature will wear out tooling fast.

Last word

I heard someone say the other day, “if you’re not writing the menu, you’re on the menu.” A metaphor that suggests when we lose control we get eaten alive.

HIT Solutions believes the more your business keeps up with important trends, the more you will improve your product, and improve your bottom line.

Leave me your comments below; share your thoughts.