Global supply chain issues and labor and material shortages continue to impact the contract manufacturing industry at every turn.
There are fewer workers to perform essential manufacturing operations and transport materials and parts. And the raw materials themselves are more and more difficult to procure due to increased demand and prohibitive prices.
These challenges are affecting costs and lead times for customers everywhere. But at Reata Engineering, we’re not just accepting the status quo.
5 Steps Reata Engineering Is Taking to Mitigate the Manufacturing Crisis
In a world with so much uncertainty, we’re laser-focused on our relationships with our customers and committed to finding solutions for them. Here are
five actions we’re taking right now to ensure customers get their parts as quickly and cost-effectively as possible:
1. Redistributing work within the shop
We optimize capacity by leveraging our breadth of high-tech capabilities to keep projects moving through our shop.
When certain machines get backlogged, we use alternate machines to stay on schedule. For example, we can easily move a job from a standard lathe or mill to a 5-axis or multi-tasking machine.
2. Adding automation to improve efficiency
We’ve invested in equipment and software that empowers our team to be more efficient.
Our 5-axis and multi-tasking machines require minimal setup and manual oversight, so our operators can use their time more effectively for other tasks. Because the machines perform multiple operations with one setup, there’s less downtime for quality checks; instead of inspecting parts between every operation, we can inspect them once at the end. Many of these machines run “lights out” to move projects along even faster.
We also use automated and digitized tools for administrative tasks, further increasing efficiency and capacity. Paperless Parts quoting software connects our customers to our team for real-time feedback, and Pro Shop ERP tracks and manages our workflows to optimize throughput.
3. Identifying additional suppliers
We can’t fix the global supply chain, but we can expand our network and find more suppliers.
We’re looking far and wide to source materials and identify the highest-caliber partners for outsourced services such as plating and painting. We rigorously vet and validate every new vendor to ensure the quality of work meets our high standards.
We work closely with vendors to develop solutions that work for our customers. For example, we can send machined parts to finishing vendors in small batches to get orders started more quickly. That way, customers receive a few completed parts ASAP while waiting for the remainder of their order.
4. Communicating with customers
Many of our customers need buy-in from their leadership teams or have to report back when costs and lead times are different from what they anticipated.
As your precision machining partner, we value proactive and transparent communication. We want to help you understand why you’re seeing such significant changes.
We’ll always prepare you with as much information as possible so that you and your team fully understand what’s happening. We can even share your pricing history to add helpful context as necessary.
5. Suggesting alternatives
Manufacturing isn’t just the industry we work in; it’s also our passion. We are dialed into the developments and advancements across equipment, automation, materials sciences, and more. We stay engaged not only because we find it fascinating but also because it’s our job to stay up-to-date and offer alternative solutions to our customers.
For example, the price of stainless steel has drastically increased because the cost of nickel (a prominent element in stainless steel) saw exponential growth this year. Instead of telling our customers to accept the new, steeper pricing, we look for suitable alternatives, such as brass or some plastics.
The manufacturing industry might be experiencing unprecedented challenges, but that’s Reata’s opportunity to seek out exceptional solutions. It’s our job to help you complete your project, and there’s no better feeling in the world than being the hero for our customers.
We’re not going to give up because global and national obstacles are disrupting the way we’ve done business in the past. Instead, we choose to be a future-forward company and find innovative solutions that benefit our business and customers. Let us show you the caliber of work we can do. Request a quote for your next project today.