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Not Trying to Trick You

The results of our question of the month are misleading. Click over there and have a look for yourself.

Back? Good. Did you look at the results, see the “zero” answer leading the pack and think, shoot, not many jobs are coming back from low-cost countries these days? If you did, you’ve been misled.

In case you didn’t head over to the page to figure out what the heck we’re talking about, the question asked: “How many jobs formerly sourced in a low-cost country has your facility won back in the past year?”

The zero answer garnered 37.9% of the vote, so it seems like it’s leading the pack. But the lion’s share of our readers in fact have beaten out low-cost countries for at least one job in the past year. While they’re spread across the spectrum from one to more than 10 jobs won, 62.1% of the metalcasters responding to the survey didn’t answer zero.

So, just to clear the air, while our poll setup makes it look like the domestic industry is still being outmatched, that’s simply not the case.

Shouldn't That Be a Casting?

Are your customers marketing for you? During a recent tour of an iron metalcasting facility, one of our editors fell into a discussion about casting facilities finding new business. This metalcaster’s business is growing, mostly due to efforts of their sales staff, but an unintentional avenue opened up through a couple of casting buyers who recently changed companies. These buyers had been satisfied customers for years at a previous company before they found themselves in a new position. The customers took stock of operations at their new companies and began asking, “Why isn’t this a casting?” Soon, they were bringing in business from the new companies to the metalcaster.

In a perfect world, all our customers would be asking, “Why isn’t this a casting?”  In our October issue, we are profiling Piad Cast Precision, Greensburg, Pa., a company that defines its business by that question. If its customers aren’t asking it, they ask it for them. As CEO Karl Schweisthal pointed out, when you focus on finding candidates for casting conversions, your market is almost limitless. You may know a part is best made as a casting. And your customer’s competitor may know. But that doesn’t mean your customer does. Someone will have to point it out to them. When you do, it’s your business to take.

Automotive Component Sourcing, Revisited

In its exhaustive and exemplary coverage of the automotive manufacturing industry, the Saginaw News recently asked, from where are the parts in our automobiles sourced?

MODERN CASTING and Engineered Casting Solutions asked this question some months ago in “Castings Are Closer Than They Appear” (January MC, January/February ECS), and the results of Saginaw’s exploration turned out to be similar, though the newspaper worked from different supporting data.

The force of the daily’s story was that a company based in one country doesn’t necessarily source its components, including castings, from that same country. The straight news article doesn’t get into why the sourcing decisions are made (perhaps they’re planning to deliver those answers in a later news analysis story), but it offers good evidence for local casting sourcing.

According to reporter Barrie Barber’s research, “on average, domestic carmakers sport about an 80% North American parts content,” just 30% more than Toyota, which averages about 50%. Again, the goal of the piece is not to go into the reasoning behind this surprising fact, but it coincides neatly with companies like Toyota moving many of their assembly plants into domestic markets.

Car companies aren’t the only casting end-users moving into domestic markets (see “What Your Customers Are Thinking” in the upcoming issue of MODERN CASTING). Domestic metalcasters must recognize this fact and win this new business while it’s available.

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