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I’ve been in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years, and throughout my career I’ve seen the growth from an industry focused on machines to an industry focused on innovation. Many people ask me, now that innovation is part of the process, what’s next? How do you keep a die casting company relevant and evolving? First, Dynacast has been in the business for over 80 years by staying ahead of the trends and listening to our customers’ needs. Currently in the manufacturing industry, there is a great need to be agile.
I know that normally manufacturing and agility aren’t used in the same sentence, but it’s essential to see the relationship of the two. Being agile, by definition, is the ability to move not only quickly but also easily. If you think about it, doesn’t it fit into what us manufacturers do every day? Or at least what we all strive to be? In our industry, many goals are thrown out: faster production times, tighter tolerances, quicker deadlines, creating complex geometries with no errors, quick and effective prototyping, being safe, making a profit, being cost-effective to the customer, being competitive – the list could go on and on. For me, the bottom line is that being agile is of upmost importance. More specifically, being agile in three key areas is critical to the success and growth of manufacturing:
- Our people
- Our customers
- Our plants
Dynacast only hires the best of the best. How are we able to consistently hire top talent? And why do we have such low turnover? It really comes down to the agility of our people. We build a culture of trust and encourage our employees to find their passion. They are given the power to make decisions, speak up when they think of an idea, or present a way that something can be done better. A great case is our multi-slide metal injection molding machines (MIM). One of our employees thought, “Why can’t our multi-slide technology be used for the MIM process”? He began working on this concept, and soon after a new machine for MIM was born. If we weren’t agile, he would have never felt like he could bring his idea to the table. We quickly figured out the best way to help him in his concept, and made it as easy as possible for his vision to come to life. Dynacast not only supports, but we encourage this entrepreneurial spirit – allowing employees to be creative and think ahead. We also encourage movement within the company. If we have an employee who sees an opportunity he/she is interested in, we encourage them to get the necessary training and support they need so that their dreams become a reality. Dynacast realizes the importance of keeping our workforce engaged.
We are constantly changing and evolving with our customers. From mixing custom MIM powders to finding solutions for complex needs, we make sure that our customer’s success is a priority. A great example of this is the agility of our machines. Our multi-slide technology not only provides faster cycle times but they are also very portable in comparison to typical die cast tools, and are therefore able to be moved better. This means that we can quickly and easily move to locations based on what our customers need. Our sales team and our engineers partner with a customer from the beginning, to offer unique solutions and design ideas. Dynacast is a true partner, not just a manufacturer of one part for a product.
The final way Dynacast is agile is through our plants. We have simplified our plants making it quicker and easier to manufacture components. We have also moved locations, which has served multiple purposes, including being closer to our customers, lowering costs, and being closer to our suppliers. Each location is strategically and uniquely positioned to make the most business sense not only for us economically but also for our customers. Another great example of this is the opening of our tooling facility. This facility only makes tools. It was created out of the need to be able to make them easier and quicker. Because the sole focus is on tooling, they are able to create tools faster, which helps our plants meet deadlines and ensures the fastest turnarounds possible for components.
By being agile, Dynacast has continued to grow and evolve. I am confident we will remain a leader in the manufacturing industry by continuing along this path
Do you agree that being agile is important in the industry? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.