Didion: See How One brass foundry reclaimed $321,867 in three months.

It’s the Sum of the Data

You can’t judge a book by its cover.

We have all heard this adage hundreds of times. You look at the appearance of a person and make judgments about who they are, what they are and what they believe. Even though we all resist, it is hard not to fall in this trap.

The same trap exists within our metalcasting industry. We will hear about the type of casting operation (green sand automotive, ductile iron pipe, etc.) and we will assume we know most everything about it. But, if we take the time to dig a little deeper, we often will uncover information and nuggets of wisdom we never considered.

Take a look at our feature, “Knowledge Management Using Digital Dashboards,” on p. 40. Iron pipe producers often are viewed as “specialty” casting producers, not relatable to your typical job shop. But as this article digs a little deeper into developments at Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe in Phillipsburg, N.J., it discusses the plant’s adoption and implementation of a knowledge management system that has redefined the operation and decision-making processes.

“Actual costs by tons for each cost center is a tremendous tool that gives our managers and fellow workers live information they can use to make real-time decisions on purchases and projects,” said Dan Fittro, Plant Manager.

“Atlantic States has become a ‘knowledge management’ driven foundry,” said Dale Schmelzle, general manager and senior vice president.

Every metalcaster knows the struggles involved with fully understanding your costs. But, every metalcaster also knows that once those costs are understood, business success can follow. Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe is another example of this theory in action and shows metalcasters of all types and sizes the benefit to consistent and comprehensive data collection and analysis.

The adage at the start of this editorial has kept me awake recently because my 16-year-old daughter, Alyssa, is in the early stages of preparing her resume for prospective colleges. Like many high school juniors, she must find a way to come out from behind the cover of her book—her GPA and ACT (or SAT) scores that appear to still define who a student is.

The key is going to be her ability to present herself as a total package—a sum of all the data. From her community involvement and accomplishments to her athletic success to her current job and career aspirations, Alyssa has developed an impressive resume. Let’s hope she opens the eyes of college admissions counselors in the same way that Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe opened the eyes of the industry to the fact that it is more than the cover of its book suggests.

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