Customers don't ask for much. All they want is the right product at the right price, delivered on time and free from defects. That doesn't seem unreasonable, but many manufacturers struggle to hit all four points simultaneously. Hitting all four on a consistent basis is harder still.
Aggravating, isn’t it?
Below we'll give seven examples of how your roll forming manufacturer can improve on-time delivery and packaging. Don’t let your manufacturer overlook these important processes as it processes your order. Take it from the guys with a 99.16% on-time delivery rate.
7 On-Time Delivery/Packaging Issues, & Ways Your Roll Forming Manufacturer Can Fix Them
Few metal roll forming companies set out to be late. Delays happen when things don't go according to plan.
Packaging and delivery is a sore spot for many OEMs dependent on a big batch of components. For some reason, this bottleneck has gone unaddressed for far too long.
Here are seven issues (and solutions) we’ve personally tested (and our OEM customers have loved):
Issue #1: You’re Not Even Using a Roll Forming Manufacturer
Picture a pair of rollers shaped so one matches the other. Now feed metal strip between them: it comes out with a cross-section the same as the surface of the rollers. The process is similar to extrusion in that it produces long metal forms that get cut to length, but without the huge press tonnages. It's also a better way of forming very thin-wall shapes, like say gutters, and it's possible to incorporate other operations like hole piercing in-line, saving run-time costs.
That is roll forming. It’s a highly repeatable setup, and if your lead times need shortening, it may be the manufacturing process itself that needs to change.
Issue #2: Your Manufacturer Performs Terribly
How seriously does your metal manufacturer take its lead time promises? Enough to monitor and measure performance closely.
In 2017, our on-time delivery rate was 98.76%. The benchmark is 70%-80% in metal manufacturing. So we did better than most, but not good enough for our standards, so we worked on it. For 2018, our delivery performance was 99.16% on-time.
The same dedicated approach should apply to quality. Does your manufacturing painstakingly measure parts-per-million (PPM) defect rates?
Our PPM defect rate was 676 in 2018. To put that in context of Six Sigma quality, we operate near 5 Sigma in our quality system -- very close to the best companies in the world.
If you’re in an environment that’s highly competitive or requires quick turnarounds, a contractor with poor numbers may be worth ditching.
Issue #3: Your Manufacturer Isn’t Lean
Most manufacturers have heard about kanban inventory management, but not all have applied it to its full effect in roll forming. In brief, kanban is about using demand to initiate production, rather than working based off a forecast, (which is usually wrong!).
Using a kanban replenishment system helps prevent unnecessary deliveries and overcrowded manufacturing spaces for both customer and supplier. Instead, we ask you to give us weekly counts of unopened bundles, and we replenish your stock to preagreed levels. Easy, right?
Issue #4: Your Supplier Didn’t Play Tetris as a Kid
Boxing parts so they “nest” is a great way of consolidating packaging costs and getting more in the truck. (Which also lowers shipping costs!)
Getting creative about dunnage design can also reduce or even eliminate in-transit damage – a quality gain!
The packaging process is unique to each component and based on a variety of factors, and your roll former should treat it as such. Your roll former should spend money on packaging, period! Nothing is worse than damaged products in the field, which causes exponential problems for the entire supply chain.
Issue #5: You Like Sustainability
Sustainable and returnable packaging is growing in popularity.
If you and your manufacturer have gone to the trouble of arranging for custom packaging materials, why toss them after a single use? We've worked with customers on returnable solutions that reduce waste and lower total costs.
Example: Some customers will send back empty, reusable steel containers to us. It triggers production, and we happily ship them back full to eliminate packaging footprint and cost for recurring customers. (Just make sure you send us the crates back!)
Issue #6: Your Partner Isn’t Fully Leveraging Roll Forming’s Efficiencies
With roll forming, there are all manners of ways to combine manufacturing processes.
If your vendor cuts out secondary stops on the line, you reduce queuing and handling, which can boost delivery performance. A great example of this is our new in-line UPC label application. We developed an intermittent sticker applicator for automated component labeling. (Dealing with the lubricant film present on each components was quite a challenge!)
This is a great example of continuous improvement at work, as this task previously fell to human laborers at a separate station.
Issue #7: Your Manufacturer Isn’t Creative
It's cliché to say, but problems really are opportunities. Here’s one of many examples.
Some customers store their parts on racks that are high up from the manufacturing floor, making hard or impossible to see what’s up there. As part of our kanban replenishment services, we came up with color-coded ID labels that helps the customer know which profiles sit on which shelves.
No mounting climbing gear necessary!
What’s Your Delivery Horror Story?
Your roll forming manufacturer should understand the importance of having a product arrive as promised -- on time and in one piece. That means constantly looking for ways to improve delivery performance until that 70-80% benchmark is a distant memory.
We've showcased seven examples here. If you’d like more advice on how we can customize your packaging and delivery needs, get in touch.
In the old days, it looked good when roll forming companies produced as much as possible. But that concept no longer flies in today’s world of lean manufacturing, value engineering, and so many other cost-efficiency philosophies.
As with all manufacturing processes, careful design of your component impacts your overall costs, lead times, and quality performance. Follow these tips to avoid the common pitfalls of designing custom roll form parts.