• Metal Cutting Operations

    Strategies for Improving Workflow and Eliminating Bottlenecks in Industrial Metal-Cutting

    Process and workflow bottlenecks are a common challenge for industrial metal-cutting organizations. But prioritizing speed over quality leads to failures in equipment and blades, costly mistakes, and a decrease in overall productivity.

    In this brief, learn proactive strategies to help you identify and address bottlenecks before they turn into full-blown issues.

    Included in the brief:

      • Planning schedules that result in reduced scrap and fewer errors
      • Preventative maintenance programs that minimize disruptive downtime
      • Organization tips to streamline workflow

    Benchmark Survey of Industrial Metal-Cutting Organizations:

    Download the results from the LENOX Industrial Metal Cutting Benchmark Survey and see how your organization measures up against other high performers

    How does your metal-cutting operation measure performance? Are you making sufficient efforts to minimize cutting machine downtime and increase productivity? How do you handle operator training and safety?

    Download our exclusive study, "Benchmark Survey of Industrial Metal Cutting Organizations," and see how your organization compares to your peers.

    A sample of the key findings covered in this study:

    • Invest in human capital – 64% of organizations that cite their metal-cutting operator turnover is reducing, year-over-year, also report their on-time job completion is trending upward year-over-year
    • Invest in smarter, more predictive operations management approaches – 51% of organizations that always follow all scheduled and preventative maintenance plans say that blade failure is predictable
    • Embrace proactive measures to extend blade life – Out of the organizations that report they have scrap and re-work costs less than five percent, 70% report always breaking in their blades

    Benchmark Survey of Industrial Metal-Cutting Organizations

    It′s hard to make sense of the mountains of data that we′re bombarded with every day. To filter out the noise and provide the information you need to drive high performance, the LENOX Institute of Technology has revamped its Benchmark Survey of Industrial Metal-Cutting Organizations.

    Included are all the key stats you need, in an easy-to-digest format so you can quickly zero in on what matters to you and start putting the key findings to work.

    Inside, you′ll find:

      • How many of your peers can predict downtime and why
      • What the shops with the lowest scrap and re-work costs do differently
      • How much impact operator turnover has on on-time job completion

    Five Performance-Boosting Best Practices for your Industrial Metal-Cutting Organization

    If you′re committed to continuous improvement, you′ll want to explore this eBook to find the approaches that are increasing performance for industry leaders.

    Five Performance-Boosting Best Practices for your Industrial Metal-Cutting Organization highlights five best practices that can make a difference in your operations and, more importantly, to your bottom line.

    Included are best practices for:

      • Getting lean:
        How it′s evolving, what the tools are and how it can work for high-mix operations
      • Investing in human capital:
        How you can get started addressing the skills gap today
      • Focusing on quality:
        How ISO 9001 and other strategies bake quality into the business
      • Embracing preventative maintenance:
        What strategic PM is and how you can get operators involved
      • Forming strategic supplier relationships:
        How you can make the most of what key suppliers have to offer

    Tackling the Top 5 Operating Challenges in Industrial Metal Cutting

    After a rough few years, most experts agree that the U.S. metals industry is on the rebound and, more importantly, part of an overall rise in North American manufacturing. Some industry segments have been reporting year over year sales increases, and many metal executives expect their key markets to either grow or remain flat this year.

    However, even with signs of a market recovery, some uncertainty still exists within the industry.

    While many of today′s industrial metal-cutting companies exist because of their ability to survive even the toughest market conditions, best-in-class executives know they cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Today′s industry leaders are taking a proactive approach to optimizing their industrial metal-cutting operations so that they are in the best position possible when the market fully rebounds. This includes addressing traditional pain points such as efficiency and cost, while also tackling new challenges in areas such as workforce and customer requirements.

    This paper will discuss the top five challenges facing today′s industrial metal-cutting executives, the impact these challenges can have on operations, and strategies focused on helping companies flourish in today′s growing, but often unpredictable, marketplace.

    Cost Management Strategies for Industrial Metal-Cutting Organizations

    Factors outside an organization′s control can impact even the most productive metal-cutting operations.

    How can today′s industrial metal-cutting companies better manage their costs? If an operation is already "running lean," what other measures can it take to keep costs under control?

    Successful cost management requires a holistic view, with no "quick fixes." A strategic approach looks at long-term and sustainable impact on the bottom line.

    Download Cost Management Strategies for Industrial Metal-Cutting Organizations for some guiding principles industry leaders use to strategically manage their expenses. This brief includes cost management approaches to:

      • Weigh long-term benefits against short-term costs
      • Focus on improving the order-to-cash cycle
      • Select benchmarks for cost-cutting targets
      • Keep equipment well maintained

    Fabricators:

    The Top 5 Operating Challenges Facing Fabricators′ Metal Cutting Operations

    Recent reports indicate the US metals industry is rebounding as part of an overall manufacturing lift. According to a Modern Metals article citing statistics from the latest GE Capital survey of middle market manufacturing company CFOs, "85% of respondents expect the economy to grow or be stable in the next 12 months, and 88% expect their industry to grow or be stable during the same time period." Regarding the metals sector, one source remarked "it is clear to steel companies that business activity has returned to the robust period similar to 2007 and 2008."

    Additional research reveals that, while good news for metal fabricators and their sawing operations, this economic upturn brings with it rising expectations – particularly cutting more materials at higher yields and at a faster rate.

    This means fabricators face increasing operating challenges, including (1) process and workflow bottlenecks; (2) resource allocation and efficiency; (3) training and maintaining talent; (4) customer delivery and (5) managing costs.

    The following explores each of these top five hurdles in greater depth, while demonstrating how one fabricator approached these challenges to meet growing demand and to remain competitive.

    Metal Service Centers:

    The Top 5 Operating Challenges for Metal Service Centers

    Unstable economic conditions have made today′s metal service centers cautiously optimistic about the future -- and rightly so. While 2012 started off strong with many executives anticipating growth, service center shipments of steel products ended up almost even with 2011. Shipments in 2013 have provided even more uncertainty. According to data from the Metal Service Center Institute, service center shipments of both steel and aluminum were down at the mid-year point compared to 2012. In fact, the industry registered declines almost every single month of 2013 until July, when the industry turned a corner and shipments of both steel and aluminum increased more than 5 percent compared to 2012.

    Not surprisingly, these figures, along with other external factors such as commodities pricing and consolidation, have made service center executives more than a little unsure about the market. However, instead of dwelling on aspects of the business they can′t control, industry leaders are taking a closer look at optimizing the aspects of their business they can control, starting with their operations.

    This paper will discuss the top five operating challenges facing today′s metal service centers, the impact these challenges can have on operations, and best-in-class strategies for achieving operational excellence.

    Strategies for Training and Maintaining Talent in Industrial Metal-Cutting Organizations

    Leading industrial metal-cutting organizations realize the growing importance of investing in their workforce.

    Retiring workers will impact the level of shop floor experience, and soon the workforce will be comprised of five generations at once. Investments in technology and lean techniques have changed the nature of metal-cutting, increasing the need for highly skilled operators, both in new employees with little experience and in seasoned employees who might be resistant to change.

    Investing in human capital is just as critical as investing in technology and equipment, and proactive leaders can′t afford to neglect one of their greatest assets. This brief will outline key strategies for talent management, including:

      • Establishing ongoing training
      • Leveraging the strengths of a multi-generational workforce
      • Encouraging employee buy-in
      • Building a talent pipeline

    Strategies for Improving Customer Service and On-Time Delivery in Industrial Metal Cutting

    On-time deliveries are no longer enough. Your customers are looking for suppliers that can offer higher quality, faster turnaround, and value-added services that will benefit their bottom line. As companies like Amazon have raised the bar on customer expectations, industrial metal-cutting operations have to look for opportunities to cultivate a strategic customer relationship built upon premium service.

    To become a valued supplier, metal-cutting operations have to differentiate themselves as trusted suppliers with an enhanced focus on customer service. Download this brief to uncover approaches to customer service and delivery that will help your business better meet customer demands in this competitive landscape.

    This brief includes best practices for:

      • Balancing speed and agility with accuracy
      • Forecasting and production scheduling
      • Standardizing processes
      • Considering ISO certification
      • Reevaluating in-house and outsourced services
      • Listening to the voice of the customer

    Machine Shops:

    The Top 5 Operating Challenges Facing Today′s Machine Shop Metal Cutting Operations

    If optimizing your business seems more challenging than ever before, check out this brief, "The Top Five Operating Challenges Facing Today′s Machine Shop Metal Cutting Operations," for some thought-provoking ideas about where to focus and how to drive performance in this environment.

    This paper identifies the top five challenges machine shop managers face in their metal cutting operations today, the impact they can have on the bottom line, and strategies for achieving operational excellence.

    A sample of the key issues we cover in this brief include:

    • Process and Workflow Bottlenecks
    • Resource Allocation and Efficiency
    • Training and Maintaining Talent

    Resource Allocation Strategies for Leading Industrial Metal-Cutting Organizations

    Budget and time constraints make it difficult to gauge how to strategically allocate resources within your industrial metal-cutting operations, raising questions like:

    Should I make high-tech capital investments in an uncertain economy?
    Would it be better to invest in human capital to close the growing skills gap?
    …and more

    To best allocate resources within your metal-cutting operation, you must weigh short-term costs against long-term benefits. This brief outlines a big picture approach to better allocating resources and provides guidelines around:

      • How to approach big upgrades strategically
      • Where small improvements can yield big results
      • Which investments to make in human capital
      • How to look for improvements in non-traditional places

    Forges:

    Top 5 Operating Challenges for Forges That Cut and Process Metal

    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.

    Ball and Roller Bearing Manufacturers:

    The Top Five Operating Challenges Ball and Roller Bearing Manufacturers Face in Industrial Metal-Cutting

    Recent reports continue to paint a positive market picture for ball and roller bearing manufacturers. Global demand for bearings is projected to rise 7.3 percent annually through 2018, with ball and roller bearings registering the fastest gains.

    Even with optimistic forecasts, industry leaders know they can′t afford to rest on their laurels. To stay competitive in today′s global market, manufacturers need to find new ways to both differentiate themselves and minimize costs.

    This means continuous improvement is critical. To keep costs low and production efficient, best-in-class companies are optimizing every aspect of their operation, including basic shop floor processes like metal cutting. From getting the most out of their circular saw blades to enforcing daily preventative maintenance checks, today′s top executives know that even the smallest improvement has a bottom-line implication.

    This paper will discuss the top five operating challenges ball and roller bearing manufacturers face in industrial metal cutting, the impact these challenges can have on the bottom line, and strategies for optimization.