Does your roll former bring you value beyond simply just doing roll forming?
To be competitive, a manufacturer has to offer value throughout your supply chain, from beginning to end of the project.
A roll forming manufacturer has experience in optimizing designs, processes, and post-production operations for the lowest costs and lead times. This is the primary advantage of outsourcing roll forming. You just have to know what to ask for.
Here’s how roll forming services can cut your costs and lead times:
How to Get The OEM ROLL FORMING PROCESS DONE RIGHT IN 6 STEPS
A good roll former will bring you great value, but you need to make sure they understand your business’s needs. You can get more out of your roll forming services by:
- Economic Profile Design Consultation
- Understanding mating parts
- Custom packaging
- Supply system procedures
- Raw material management and tracking
1. Economic Profile Design Consultation
Great roll-formed parts don’t happen by chance. Metal components must meet a number of requirements to be produced efficiently and affordable with the roll forming services.
If you’re concerned about manufacturing costs, your manufacturer can work with you right from the start to make sure you aren’t wasting money on a poorly optimized component. The video below is just one example of how a roll former can optimize your design:
The time to take advantage of collaborative engineering design is early in the decision process. In that way, the correct features can be discussed and key cost and/or quality characteristics may be accommodated in mating parts.
2. Understanding Mating Parts
Most OEM roll-formed fabrications don’t stand alone in their applications. They must fit with other components -- their mates -- or work correctly in a system of parts.
Your manufacturer will ask for this information to make sure bending and assembly (if applicable) go smoothly on the roll forming line. If mating parts already exist, samples should always be provided so tolerances can be considered from both the design drawing and the functional fit perspectives.
Learn more about designing great roll forming parts here:
3. Custom Packaging
Custom roll-formed parts and long components may require oddly shaped packaging. A custom roll form sheet metal fabricator will understand this and should address this at the start. Custom packaging and odd shipping sizes can drive up your costs, so your manufacturer will consider this for your final quote.
Consider these factors:
- Will you be pulling the roll-formed shapes from the top of the box or sliding them out the end?
- Is there a max weight that you prefer to maintain for packages traveling in your plant?
- Do your metal components need to be protected from corrosion during transport and storage?
- Can we design reusable packaging?
The answers could mean the difference between smooth sailing and a rocky road!
4. Supply System Procedures
The order fulfillment system is another opportunity to indirectly save time and money. Depending on how your system triggers a need for replenishment, your roll former should respond accordingly.
Some companies release individual purchase orders for every shipment. Some produce one blanket purchase order with releases based on min/max system triggers. MRP (material requirements planning) uses information from orders and bills of material to generate “forward-looking” planned orders.
A raw material management system should be backed up by your roll form supplier’s intimate understanding of your consumption. This will assure raw materials, roll forming production capacity, and transit options are all queued for proper execution.
5. Raw Material Management & Market Tracking
Roll forming services can include materials acquisition and OEM supply chain management. Your manufacturer is familiar with the raw materials market and will be watching long-term trends and predictions. They have the expertise to get your materials at an optimal price based on market movement.
When properly managed, raw material decisions and transactions should be discussed regularly with actions taken jointly. Nobody likes surprises!
6. Finished Goods Inventory Management for Immediate Shipment
Vendor-managed inventory (VMI) is a major benefit to your OEM supply chain. If your roll former is practicing lean manufacturing, they can ensure you’re not wasting money on idle inventory or scrambling to meet unexpected demand. The onus is on them to keep just enough for your spikes and not overproduce.
MAKE OEM Metal ROLL FORMING Process WORK FOR YOU
Find OEM metal roll forming processes that work for you, not the other way around. Your roll-forming partner should provide value from the beginning to the end of the project.
Want to know more about streamlining your roll forming costs?
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(Editor's note: This article was originally published in May 2017 and was recently updated.)
People not familiar with roll forming usually need some education regarding the machines’ capabilities and limitations – even people who regularly work in sheet metal roll forming. There’s a reason skilled roll form engineers are a coveted resource – this is complicated stuff.
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To answer, look at your favorite examples of modern manufacturers and product developers. The ones that are anti-bureaucratic. The ones whose culture facilitates creative solutions for their customers.
Think of Tesla vs. a company like, say, General[...]
When it comes to metal forming cost, if price is the battle, total cost of ownership or -- TCO -- is the war.
TCO is an analysis of the complete life cycle of your purchase. The number includes every phase of ownership.