Are you looking for a high-capacity manufacturing partner? Those are everywhere, even in the niche world of roll formed parts. But how many of those possess the agility of a small business?Smaller precision roll forming suppliers can still get the job done, too. Want proof?
A Precision Roll Forming Supplier Doesn't Have to Be a Giant
An OEM can get great use of a small or mid-sized roll form manufacturer. Benefits of working with a more tight-knit operation include:
- The same standards as the big boys
- Custom inventory management and strategic material purchasing plans
- Close collaboration with a "we've seen it all" engineering team
- A trusty tool set it's happy to share
1. The Same High Standards
If they're willing to put in the investment, smaller roll forming companies can run a great operation, too.
Some of these lil' guys are fully ISO-certified to meet ever-changing quality standards. Many produce roll formed shapes using advanced machinery to meet the demands of some of the most prominent manufacturers in the world.
At Dahlstrom, we feel that a just-right size allows a roll formed components manufacturer to focus on doing great work for a handful of OEMs. That's always better than a supplier spreading itslef too thin and letting quality suffer.
2. Custom Vendor-Managed Inventory Systems
A roll former should have no problem storing your stuff -- and only just the right amount. This is easier when you have a close, long-term relationship with a partner capable of giving your supply chain the attention it needs.
A roll former should tailor each system specifically to your company's product demand. Its fundamental roots should sprout from upon Just-in-Time (JIT) Delivery and Pull System concepts.
A vendor-managed inventory program can:
- Reduce inventory investment
- Lower administrative costs
- Improve your logistics management
A customer-friendly roll forming company will collaborate with you to build a strategic material purchasing plan. Your manufacturer is familiar with the raw materials market; as such, it should be watching long-term trends and predictions. The right partner will have the expertise to get your materials at an optimal price, based on market movement.
3. A Dynamic In-House Engineering Team
The way you design your roll formed component impacts:
- Overall costs
- Lead times
- Quality consistency
So why wouldn't you work with a manufacturer that has the time and experience to help you succeed?
Roll forming design has its quirks and pitfalls. Working closely with a small team on the vendor's side may better educate you on how to optimize your part. That doesn't just mean performance, it means cost-efficiency too!
4. Trusty Tools It's Happy to Share
Do you seek the precision of roll form manufacturing, but fear the investment required for custom tools? There’s a chance your manufacturer can help you out there, too.
For example, our willingness to adapt combined with over 115 years of work has left us with more than 1,600 sets of Dahlstrom-owned tools. All of them are available for your use, at no additional cost.
Consequently, Dahlstrom Roll Form is capable of producing low-to-medium-sized orders that range from 100 to 5,000 linear feet. This is a service not typically offered by other metal roll forming companies, so check out our catalog to see the shapes our tools produce.
If you're looking at another manufacturer, ask how much pre-existing tooling it has on hand. There's a chance you can score yourself a freebie, as long as your partner offers this perk.
More Tips for a Happy Marriage
These methods are only a few examples of how the roll forming process should remain flexible and meet the ever-changing needs of its customers.
To learn what else a metal forming company can do to improve your processes and reduce costs, check out the free e-book below:
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2016 and was recently updated.)
Tooling costs in manufacturing are already a sore spot for many purchasers, but some think roll forming tooling is cost-prohibitive altogether. Sadly, the up-front price tag blinds them to literal down-the-line savings.
That’s right -- if your project fits, a roll former can actually optimize[...]
Quick: Which charges higher prices for metal fabrication -- a company that has in-house roll forming tooling design capabilities or one that outsources it?
There will always be designers who want control of every single detail, down to the last thread, sliver, or scrap. That philosophy can apply to choosing decorative metal trim. To each their own, we say.