A project we completed for an equipment manufacturer (OEM) demonstrates the positive side effects of being closely involved in the customer’s production process for seven years and, along the way, building collaborative relationships with their operations, engineering and purchasing groups.

The backbone of custom fabrication is a combination of knowing metals, solving problems, and finding the most effective, most efficient way to put something together. In this instance, we not only put our specialties to work fabricating component parts for a newly launched line of equipment. We collaborated on an innovation now being used as part of our customer’s logistics process to improve manufacturing efficiency, productivity, quality, and on-time delivery.

You can read more about the logistics project here. You’ll get a sense of two key advantages – the “side effects” – that result from a smooth-running customer/supplier teamwork, excellent communication, and a shared commitment to innovation that can drive the business forward.

Effect #1: We have the visibility – a full line of sight – to think several steps ahead. Just like engineering a component that integrates into an assembly – or designing a part for improved manufacturability – everything is interrelated. If there is an improvement opportunity connected to a second or third step or feature, there are similar chances to optimize at the fourth and fifth step or feature. The further out that we can accurately visualize challenges and consider the best options, the stronger the final solution.

Effect #2: We arrive at things that matter faster and more efficiently. There’s a lot that goes on in a manufacturing process . . . as well as supply logistics that feed it. It’s a target-rich environment for chances to make product improvements or optimize processes. But not all process steps or actions are created equal. When it comes to focusing our strengths and specialties on creating solutions that can make the most difference, there’s no replacement for being able to observe the customer’s business up close.