Like all segments of the metals landscape, the U.S. forging industry is sensitive to fluctuating economic and market conditions. While the latest industry figures show that custom forging sales have increased year over year since the big drop in 2009, external factors such as metals pricing, energy costs, and, more recently, “federal sequestration” have created uncertainty among industry executives and experts.
As forging executives navigate through this unstable market, they face enormous pressure to stay competitive. In addition to competing with other companies within the industry, forges also have to compete with companies offering alternatives to forged components (e.g., steel castings). This means continuous improvement is critical.
Achieving operational excellence requires managers to optimize all aspects of the forging process, including their metal-cutting operations. Challenges such as workflow bottlenecks, equipment downtime, and high blade costs can directly affect the bottom line, and market leaders know that strategically addressing these operational pain points is key to staying successful in today’s market.
This paper will discuss the top five challenges forges face in their metal-cutting operations, the impact these challenges can have on their business, and strategies for improving operational effectiveness.