Business Alloy: What to Look For In a Local Foundry
If your company is in search of a foundry, then it might feel like there are quite a few options on the table. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your manufacturing bottom line depends on more than just saved upfront costs when working with the foundry that your company ultimately decide to go with.
It’s easy to choose the lowest bidder, and that lowest bidder might also produce quality work; but all too often, businesses have regretted their choice in this regard. A good foundry that deals in copper, bronze, and brass alloy services must have two primary strengths: product quality AND business efficiency.
Quality Work Is Great, But It’s Not Everything
As we said before, it might feel like your local region has quite a few foundries, all of which, seem to showcase high-quality work; however, product quality matters very little if their production process is too inefficient to keep up with your delivery expectations and needs. Such an issue could place your company’s manufacturing at a standstill, and since your own customers are expecting delivery, then this could be very bad news for your company.
This is why a foundry partner must not only produce quality parts, but it must also be run on a top-tier business-oriented model, which makes a habit of underpromising and overdelivering. Not only will this standard help you narrow down which foundry you choose, but it should also weed out the vast majority of smaller foundry operations.
Choosing Local Is a Big Deal (For 3 Reasons)
An optimal foundry should also be local, roughly within a 100-mile radius of your company’s manufacturing facility. Here are 3 reasons why this is the case:
- Shipping Metal Is Costly – In an article by Rick Frasch, a contributor to Forbes, he listed 8 major mistakes that companies often make when outsourcing (to China). After reading, it’s easy to see why choosing a local foundry partner is a very strong option, especially since it brings down the obscene costs of shipping heavy materials and the hassles of overseas and non-local supply chains.
- Keep an Eye on Your Foundry – Not only are you able to simplify the logistics of the entire process by decreasing the geographical distance between you and your foundry partner, but this also allows you to keep a better eye on production. A good foundry should also prefer this, since it’s much easier to get design and manufacture feedback from their clients that way.
- The Best Customer Service Goes Beyond a Phone Call – This enables your foundry partner to provide top-notch customer service, since they can work with you in person. Unlike a phone call, a face to face meeting can take a great deal of guess work out of deciphering elements of the process that could otherwise have been lost in translation.
Technology Brings Down Cost and Increases Efficiency
Technological capability is a major differentiator between smaller operations and well-established foundries, since larger local foundries will have greater capacity to bring down operational costs and optimize the speed of the entire manufacturing process. In addition, they’ll have increased manufacturing capabilities, offering design solutions where smaller operations tend to fall short terms of production maneuverability. According to RDMag’s contributor Monteith G. Heaton of Innovative Micro Technology (IMT):
“It is also important to select a foundry that can offer intelligent design feedback or cooperate on designing the device itself to ensure manufacturability. To be successful, the partnering foundry must meet all these needs and be flexible in the application of its capabilities and services.”
Especially if foundries offer a more complete manufacturing service, such as a CNC machine and bar stock warehouse, then this further optimizes the process. Not only will the foundry be able to offer experienced design feedback, but they’ll also know the capabilities of their own facilities and offer solutions that most other foundries simply could not.
Reputation: Because a Foundry Should Care About What Their Clients Think
Last, a good foundry partner should have a well-established and strong reputation among its clients. This should tell you several things about the foundry in question.
- The foundry has been in business long enough to have developed a reputation.
- The length of time it has been in business indicates its value to their partners (since inefficient manufacture-level foundries tend to get weeded out rather quickly).
- Reputation and repeat business offer a fairly reliable indicator of partnership quality.
Not only has Montclair Bronze Inc. cultivated a thriving community of manufacturing partners, but through our years of experience, we’ve learned that operating a foundry is both an art and a science. A foundry has got to produce quality alloy goods, but in order for the first ounce of bronze to see its first casting -the foundry company must operate on a world-class business standard in order to be the right kind of partner that its clients ultimately need.
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