Home > Company > Industry News > E-Newsletter > May 2016 > Working Together to Reduce Costs

Working Together to Reduce Costs

Almost every conversation we have with our customers includes seeking ways to remove cost from the manufacturing equation. Cost reduction is a never-ending goal at Alexandria Industries. It is not something we only focus on when a customer requests it.

To work successfully together and help you save money, cost reduction initiatives need to be a two-way street between you and us.

What you can do to reduce your costs:

  • Action: Share details about your design’s intent and product end-usage as early in the development process as possible.
    • How this can affect costs: This simple step can improve project start-up times and smooth overall product development cycles. It also allows Alexandria Industries the ability to better understand your part’s functionality and suggest ways to reduce costs in your design, improve functionality and speed time to market.
  • Action: Determine which tolerances in your design are critical and which tolerances are not, and share this with us.
    • How this can affect costs: By working with us to achieve the desired intent of your product’s design, while applying only the critical-to-function tolerances, we can help decrease manufacturing cost and time.
  • Action: Consider incorporating design features in your extrusion profile that can solve ease-of-assembly requirements.
    • How this can affect costs: Extrusion features, such as a snap-fit hinge, dovetail slots, screw bosses and internal screw chases, can greatly minimize assembly time, while also reducing any extra tools you may need to mate two or more components together.
  • Action: Know your “finished look” requirements.
    • How this can affect costs: Incorporate surface design features, such as scallops, grooves, or raised drill lines, to hide flow lines and surface marks inherent in the aluminum extrusion process, and enhance product look and feel.
  • Action: Determine which manufacturing processes will get you to your final shape at the best price-point and the least amount of time by designing for manufacturability.
    • How this can affect costs: Selecting the best manufacturing solution – forging, casting, sand casting, die casting, or extrusion – to manufacture your components can help you get there quickly and cost-effectively.
  • Action: Consider some flexibility in selecting the aluminum alloy used to produce your components.
    • How this can affect costs: Different aluminum alloys have varying properties. Some alloys extrude faster, while others are easier to bend, or better accommodate machining. Understand your component’s functional needs and estimated annual usage when choosing the best aluminum alloy for your product’s manufacturing and end-use needs.
  • Action: Know that different chemical finishing options can affect form, fit and function to avoid unattainable expectations.
    • How this can affect costs: Finishes, such as hard-coat and anodizing, can affect tolerances because they add a layer of thickness to your component. There is also value in understanding that different finishing options can have a role in enhanced heat dissipation, corrosion resistance or reduced wear of your component.

What Alexandria Industries is doing to reduce your costs:

  • We will work with you early in the design process to help you determine ways where you can alter designs by changing dimensional requirements, identifying critical-to-function tolerances, and examining your finishing needs, to save you both time and money.
  • We offer free educational seminars – hosted at your facility – to share with your staff various design strategies, manufacturing process details and other time and cost-saving techniques that can help remove costs from your product manufacturing processes.
  • A team of our experts – representing drafting, extrusion, estimating, sales, engineering, applications and tooling – regularly review existing product manufacturing processes to determine where we can make improvements, decrease manufacturing times, and remove costs.
  • We continuously seek opportunities to invest in our own manufacturing capabilities by:
    • Upgrading existing equipment
    • Purchasing new equipment
    • Expanding manufacturing space and capacity
    • Balance equipment utilization
    • Duplicating manufacturing capabilities across facilities
    • Monitoring data trends to avoid bottlenecks and reduce manufacturing defects
  • For each customer project, we evaluate our equipment, and based on the capabilities of each, we will recommend the best option to manufacturer your product.
  • We implemented a formal training program at Alexandria Industries, and hired a training manager and corporate trainer to grow our workforce skills. These training initiatives are paving the way for our future generation workers to grow their skills, provide opportunities for them to create new ideas and improve our manufacturing services to help our customers be even more successful.
  • We encourage all of our employees to suggest a better way to do something, or correct a deficiency in our manufacturing processes, that can help us all make improvements in our day-to-day activities.
  • We host a Customer Leadership Conference to provide useful information that you can apply to your work today. We bring you industry experts who share valuable information on the aluminum industry, economy and corporate training (to name a few), that can help you maximize your business opportunities and achieve your professional and business goals.

If you want to learn more about the ways we can work together to save money on your new or existing product manufacturing processes, give us a call today.