When seeking a manufacturing partner, choose one who is open to doing things differently, a supplier who boosts your competitiveness and your bottom line.
We recently received a prospective business opportunity to work with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) on a newly developed product. Our collective goal was getting to a lower price-point, with higher volumes. We needed to think differently to create a manufacturing solution that would work for our customer and Alexandria Industries.
To get started, our team met with the customer’s team to discuss the product’s end use and what it would take to manufacture it successfully.
Bringing together the combined knowledge of supply chain managers, project managers, tooling specialists, machinists, robotic cell operators, customer support and market specialists, and various engineers (mechanical, manufacturing, applications, automation, quality), we analyzed the part’s schematic design, its dimensional specifications, and the typical manufacturing processes that would be used to produce a finished component.
Before we could start creating the product’s manufacturing path, we needed to understand the key product features and the desired manufacturing processes. We had to know:
- What is more important, a drilled hole or a punched hole? Why?
- Why put the hole in this particular spot?
- Will the part mate with other parts? How?
- Will it need to be engraved, deburred or finished?
- What are the part’s truly critical-to-function tolerances?
- Where does the part go in the final product assembly?
- What are the part's performance requirements?
- What critical surface requirements do we need to keep in mind during manufacturing?
Discussing these topics allowed us to fully understand both the customer’s and the product’s needs. It also provided the information we needed to determine the best equipment to manufacturer the part.
Investing in Your Success
We knew a manufacturing solution that would require physically moving a part from process to process – from cutting, hole punching and inspection, to engraving, deburring and packing – added time and labor cost. This path would not get us to the customer’s price-point, delivery needs and volume requirements.
Once we understood the part’s key design features and how each ideal manufacturing process would work together, we developed a solution using advanced automation technology, and cellular manufacturing that made sense.
We turned a traditional product manufacturing path into a single, fully automated manufacturing cell that performs every process with only one human touch—at the beginning of the process where the operator loads the raw linear stock on the advancing feeder system. From there, universal pick-and-place robotics move the product from process to process. The cell’s design helped to expedite the multiple manufacturing processes, while eliminating variability.
Working side-by-side with the customer’s team, carefully assessing each step along the way, drove the manufacturing processes to a higher technical level. With the team’s insight and input, we were able to create a manufacturing solution that allowed us to meet everyone’s needs.
Investing in Product Development Strategies
Creating a new manufacturing path did not come without sacrifices of time and money. Both parties committed to making significant investments in new equipment, tooling, personnel, and testing. This commitment allowed us to be innovative and find a solution that would work and be prosperous for both companies.
Unconventional Supplier Value
It may be challenging to take a step back and evaluate the overall value a supplier will bring to your manufacturing needs. Is the supplier exceeding your expectations and bringing innovative solutions to your product needs? Are they always looking for ways to upgrade their manufacturing processes to improve your product? Does the supplier work with you to solve challenges in your own manufacturing processes? Does the product quality meet your highest standards? Most importantly, is your supplier striving to build a close working relationship with you—one built on trust, expertise and ingenuity?
When seeking a manufacturing partner, choose a supplier who makes a difference by improving your competitiveness and your bottom line. Our team is not afraid to disrupt the status quo in manufacturing. We want customers to experience what makes us different from other suppliers.
At Alexandria Industries, we stand firmly by our “Commitment to Excellence" value. We appreciate our customers and take our role as your manufacturing partner seriously. We rely on unconventional thinking and innovation as the keys to our customer’s success. Our ideal partner is a customer who commits to process improvements, while understanding everything that is involved when considering and developing innovative manufacturing solutions.
If you have any questions about your product manufacturing needs, please contact us.