The Lawton Standard family of companies focuses on serving our customers as value-added suppliers of iron and steel castings. We’re constantly looking for ways to save time and money and provide our customers with the highest quality castings. We work with multiple locations and divisions of growing global organizations. All of them communicate with Lawton, but almost none of them communicate with each other and this leads to conflict. We’re taking steps forward with the right technology to fix this issue.
The new steps in technology have pushed new boundaries in the “smart factory” or Industry 4.0, which advances how manufacturers and their companies weave together multiple technologies to advance their product and their production time. As manufacturers ourselves we seek to reduce the number of suppliers they work with and look for opportunities in Industry 4.0 to not only reduce costs but improve quality, on-time delivery, and better service levels.
These are some of the possibilities we see for the future:
Improved Logistics Costs
A way that improved order visibility can pay off is by reducing the cost of logistics. Today, to manage trucking costs, castings must be batched for delivery. This can often result in lengthy delays and significant expediting charges. Improved scheduling and planning through effective, real-time, communication with our trucking firms can and will help the improvement of delivery times. It can also reduce expediting charges and other associated costs.
Better Quality Products
Imagine if we had a way to collaborate with our customers in real-time and share their most up-to-date technical specifications and revisions of casting machining, and assembly drawings with us and we could provide our input on them earlier in the process. This process could not only reduce the cost and improve the performance but the quality and life of their castings.
Conversations with engineers and our customers take place over the phone or via email. This is often a very long process filled with back-and-forth conversations and limited information. Closer collaboration on a shared electronic platform like Zoom or Webex enables us to anticipate changes and, in the end, produce higher-quality castings meeting our customer’s standards.
Closer Coordination Across Large Organizations
In a perfect world, casting orders should be harmonized between our foundries so we can make intelligent trade-offs in our production schedule. But with information not being communicated and getting trapped in our customer’s computer systems, and sometimes even in different documents, coordination between customer and supplier is almost impossible.
One division of a large company may use a Lawton company for casting and machining, while another division may use an outside vendor for machining or another part of the process. If they have good communication across divisions and with the foundry, they could coordinate their process to save time and money.
In both examples, access to real-time information could improve cycle times and help us become more accurate in responding to changes. Cost, on-time delivery, service level, and quality can be improved with more detailed and up-to-date information.
Commitment to Our Customers
Our commitment has always been the same, to provide our customers with the best possible product we can give them. With advancements in Industry 4.0 as well as advancements in technology, we can work to improve our communication and collaboration to ensure that our customer gets the best possible product in a time-efficient manner.