Education is one of the most effective tools metalcasters can use to improve their bottom line.
The obvious return on investment is seen with education of in-house staff. If properly deployed to your workforce, education can improve efficiencies by eliminating process issues and lowering scrap rates. Eliminating the guesswork on the plant floor by following the proven processes and procedures that lead to sound castings will increase your facility’s profitability.
In this editorial, however, I want to focus on a less obvious angle than in-house education. It is the education of your customer—buyers and designers of castings.
In many metalcasting facilities, this type of education falls under the direction of the marketing or sales department and will include customer presentations such as Casting 101 or the basics of casting processes and materials. While it is critical to provide this foundation education to customers (and something we provide to casting buyers as well), what is the next step? How does the education engagement continue with current and prospective customers?
This question becomes paramount when you perform regular internet searches about metalcasting and review the information and videos being presented. When your customers visit their go-to source for casting design and sourcing information, what are they learning?
Our sister publication, Metal Casting Design & Purchasing (MCDP), strives for engagement with every issue it publishes. With an audience solely consisting of casting designers and buyers, the goal of this seven-time-a-year publication is to educate engineers and purchasing professionals on effective ways to design and source engineered cast metal components. MCDP hits the basics, but it also tries to take it to the next level.
As an example, in the September/October issue of MCDP, an article titled, “Understanding Part Pricing,” was published that detailed seven different factors that affect how a metalcaster quotes a casting. Written by a casting buyer and addressing issues such as parting lines, surface finish and section thickness, the article provides a three-page lesson for end-users who receive quotes from metalcasters and don’t understand “why the part price seems so high.”
In the November/December issue of MCDP, the focus was on rapid manufacturing and how this technology can be integrated into the casting supply chain in various different ways. With the exciting developments with rapid manufacturing, it is critical to illustrate to buyers and designers that metalcasting is embracing this technology.
If you aren’t familiar with MCDP, visit www.metalcastingdesign.com and page through the digital magazine archives. When you see something you like, take the opportunity to send links of relevant articles to your customers. If you want to send issues of the magazine to customers, contact us to set up a subscription.
The key is to become more than a part supplier to your customer. Engaging them through education can help you to become their go-to knowledge resource on effective casting design and purchasing.