The Great Recession that occurred ten years ago took its toll on many small to medium sized businesses. This certainly included the manufacturing sector and the metal fabrication industry. Since then we have had economic recovery. Manufacturing businesses once again have a great need for components that are fabricated quickly and to a high quality standard. If your company is now looking for a metal fabrication supplier or needs a prototype to launch a new product, it’s crucial to find the right partner for the job.
Companies frequently choose their suppliers, including their metal fabrication supplier, based on cost alone because keeping product costs down is a very high priority. However, while cost is an important factor in sourcing, the experience and capabilities a fabricator has are crucial, as are the quality of product it produces and how well it treats its customers. The following are three critical things to consider in a metal fabrication supplier.
Not all metal fabricators are the same. They offer different services and specialize in different processes. Many different types of metal fabrication capabilities exist. These include:
Cutting - Parts can be sawed, sheared, or cut with torches, CNC plasma, lasers, and water jets.
Bending - There are many ways to bend pieces, including manual or powered press brakes to coin or air bend metal sheet into shape. CNC-controlled press brakes are now capable of seamless and efficient operation with the right software.
Assembling - This involves joining the pieces using welding, adhesive binding, riveting, threaded fasteners, or more bending.
Design - Some fabricators also offer design assistance with new products, improving them and speeding up the time it takes to get them to market.
Experience can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your project’s success. An experienced metal fabricator will be able to identify problems and be able to solve them early in the process. Mistakes in measurement, for instance, can be enormously expensive and cause unwanted delays in production. Conversely, small improvements to a part’s design can reduce waste and cost. The benefit of experience is in both bypassing production problems and improving part design or process so the parts are produced efficiently and at a lower cost.
A capable fabricator may still not have the capacity necessary to produce all of the parts that your company needs. Some shops may not be capable of handling large production runs, lacking either the right equipment or enough experienced employees. If you need large orders or short turn around times, be sure to find a supplier with that capacity.
When it comes time to decide which metal fabrication supplier to choose, ask yourself: Can the supplier meet all my company’s needs without any problems occurring during prototype runs or production? The wrong choice in supplier can cost you in terms of product issues, delivery problems, or unforeseen expenses. At D+M Metal Products we are proud of the work we do and have done in the West Michigan community for over 40 years. Call us with any questions you have about metal fabrication. We would be happy to discuss what we can do for your company.
There have been and continue to be some challenges in the U.S. current manufacturing climate, but overall manufacturers remain optimistic about the future of the industry. In fact, despite ongoing problems with tariffs and trade issues, 80% of manufacturers were positive about the future of manufacturing in the most recent 2019 survey. At D+M Metal Products we believe that metal fabrication careers have a bright future, one that more students and current workers should consider when contemplating their work choices.
Manufacturing has a reputation from decades ago that does not match what it is today. It has evolved well beyond automobile assembly and offers different opportunities to workers of all ages today. Currently the manufacturing workforce is dominated by older workers, but we need qualified and trained younger people continue to evolve and meet the needs of our customers, the country, and the world. After all, fabricated products make the world go round.
There are differences between the generations in their ideas about work and careers. Sixty-four percent of Baby Boomers, when asked what their primary motivation was when they first began work, said that it was one of two things: making as much money as possible or learning new skills. Millennials are much more likely than older generations to say that their main concern is to do work they enjoy or that allows them to make a difference in society. As a result, many of them have gravitated to white collar work that requires a college degree. In fact, most of them have been steered in that direction. Unfortunately, the costs of higher education have increased greatly while the associated jobs have dwindled in number and pay.
In contrast, manufacturing has a shortage of workers. As of October of 2018, there were approximately 488,000 open manufacturing jobs in the United States. Many Millennials dismiss manufacturing jobs as dull or dead end, but the jobs of today are not the same as the jobs on the line in 1960 or 1970. Automation is now doing a great deal of the repetitive work with the skilled work being done by people. These jobs are challenging and engaging. They pay well, and they don’t require years of very expensive college courses as an entry point. For Millennials or Generation X workers, they offer a great chance to do necessary, interesting work and be paid well for it (without being saddled by tens of thousands of dollars in student debt or more).
For high school or community college students who are beginning to think about what comes next, many manufacturing companies, including ours, bring in students who have no experience in the industry and give them the training and opportunities they need to succeed. Many of our skilled techs and machine operators have learned on the job. We also invest in our workers, reimbursing them for further training or the education they get if it is learning a related skill or expanding their knowledge in a way that benefits our company.
The school year is just beginning, but learning never ends. If you are looking to enter an industry with enormous potential for growth and great opportunity, manufacturing - and metal fabrication in particular - is it. Come and talk to us at D+M Metal about what we do, how we invest in our workers, and the future of metal fabrication careers.
In most businesses employees are a key resource, the lifeblood of the company and the ones who determine how - and if - the company is productive and profitable. People aren’t machines, however. They have lives outside of work and limitations on what they can do. Sometimes the challenges they have to deal with in their personal lives affect how well they function at work. This is why a chaplain ministry is valuable in the workplace. Giving employees access to a visible and available resource of personal care and support can make an enormous difference - for both the workplace and the employee.
It may sound cliche, but talking to someone really does help most people who are going through problems. When people keep their feelings and problems to themselves, they often feel more isolated and helpless than they are. Men are much less likely to talk about their personal lives to anyone, including people in their families, so they may not realize that there are real benefits. Here are some:
Talking helps you sort through your feelings - Even if the situation doesn’t change at all, talking about it can help you to mentally process it. Talking allows you to let out negative emotions like fear or anger instead of holding them in and letting them rule you.
Talking helps put things in perspective - Sometimes problems, even relatively small problems can seem overwhelming until you’ve talked to someone who has gone through them or has a different viewpoint on what you’re going through. You may not be able to see clearly because of your emotional involvement, but someone else might.
Talking allows you to brainstorm - Talking is the first step in pinning down a problem and deconstructing it into small, more manageable pieces. If you’re talking to an objective person with experience solving problems like yours, you’ll be able to learn how other people have managed in similar situations. Then you’ll have a place to start doing something to solve the problem instead of being held hostage to it emotionally.
For all the above reasons, D+M Metal Products offers our employees access to chaplains, and we encourage them to use this resource. This chaplain ministry is geared toward improving overall employee wellness. We invite trained chaplains in to give talks about life stress and managing personal problems. We also invite our employees to talk with these chaplains if they have issues they are dealing with. These issues might be:
They might talk about other topics too. All of these conversations are completely private and confidential. We don’t ask for specifics. We don’t judge, and neither do the chaplains. Our goal is to connect our employees up with people who can help them by recommending resources or services they can take advantage of.
People who are in the midst of personal crises need help. Metal fabrication is a male dominated industry filled with workers who may not be familiar with the resources available to them. That’s why D+M Metal brings chaplains into our workplace. We think of this chaplain ministry as a tangible benefit we can give to our employees. We also offer access to female chaplains for the women who work for us in our office and in the manufacturing area so they can feel comfortable and get the listening ear they need too. We are committed to being a business that treats our workers well, and this is one way we accomplish that goal.
Both the U.S. and the Michigan economy are stronger now than they have been, especially earlier in this decade. Unemployment is down significantly, and there is a demand for workers to fill positions in every industry nationwide. In Michigan, manufacturing companies are taking measures to find the skilled workers they need. Here at D+M Metal Products we are too. If you are wondering if working at D+M Metal would be a good fit for you, the below qualities are what we look for in an employee.
Like most companies, D+M Metal Products wants to hire employees who will be honest, hard-working, and reliable. We care about our employees, and we want them to succeed, but we also have responsibilities to our customers. That means we need to have people on our team who will come to work on time, who will be there every day working to the best of their ability, and who will take their work seriously. We need employees who are able to follow instructions, keep up with tasks, and take pride in their work so that the products and components we make will be of the highest quality. Our employees are our best asset as a company.
We look for people who ask themselves, “How can I improve?” Many people go to work and do their jobs as instructed. Far fewer people show the initiative to learn new skills on their own. We like to see employees who invest in themselves and who ask us how can they learn more, do more, and go further in our company.
For example, we have had employees who will come to us in management and tell us that they would like to learn a new skill. D+M Metal Products has a tuition reimbursement program for employees who go back to school to improve their skill sets. For classes that are directly related to skills we need in our business, we pay 100% reimbursement. We don’t expect our employees to do it all on their own. We view the improvement process as a partnership: they invest their time and their abilities. We pay the tuition. This would include classes in welding, engineering, CAD, as well as programming classes for all of our workers - both on the floor and in our offices.
We love it when we meet people who want to solve problems on their own and look for solutions others haven’t found yet. We want to partner with these people and help them to succeed. This is a win-win solution for employers and employees. Investing in people and not just equipment is a sound strategy for any company that wants to succeed.
If the above sounds good to you and you would like to explore working for us, please visit our Jobs page or contact us to see if we have other openings. We are always eager to talk to people who show initiative and have skills or abilities that would benefit our company. If you would like to grow in your career and take on personal responsibility for the work you do, D+M Metal Products may be the right company for you.
Quality control is an essential part of any metal fabrication process. Without defined and established standards and predetermined quality control procedures, it would be very difficult for any metal fabricator to continuously produce high quality products and satisfy their customers’ needs. There are many procedures involved in metal fabrication, including: drawing and specifications, welding procedures and inspections, welder qualifications, materials, handling, storage, and shipping. Every procedure needs to have an established standard as well as an inspection policy. This is why we have a quality control program and why we are ISO certified.
ISO 9001 is the international standard. It was first published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO is an international agency composed of the national standards bodies of more than 160 countries. ISO 9001 specifies requirements for a quality management system that organizations can use to demonstrate their ability to provide quality products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.
The 2015 standard provides a framework for a systematic approach to managing our processes and procedures. Prior to the adoption of the 2015 standard, the underlying approach to quality control could be summed up as “Say what you do, and do what you say.”
With the 2015 standard, the ISO chose to emphasize risk management, changing clauses within the standard and adding more value from a practical standpoint. The new standard’s approach is: “What are the risks? What could go wrong that would cause a quality issue?” From a customer standpoint, this is extremely valuable.
D+M Metal Products is ISO 9001:2015 certified. Our auditor is ASR, American Systems Register. Their regular auditing is part of our checks-and-balances system. It provides evidence that we follow our processes and procedures. We have an internal auditing system in place as well.
The certification is valuable for a number of reasons. First, our compliance with the ISO 9001:2015 standard ensures that D+M Metal Products’ customers receive products that satisfy their expectations for quality manufacture as well as safety. We rigorously test the components and parts fabricated at our facility for quality and durability. They meet predetermined specifications that are agreed upon by both customer and manufacturer.
The ISO certificate is also valuable as it assures our suppliers and all businesses that we deal with that we have processes in place to guarantee quality. This means they do not have to spend their time researching us. The ISO certification provides the information to them already. We are, essentially, vetted as a result of the auditing process and the proof it provides of ISO standard compliance.
If you have questions about D+M Metal’s quality control program, please feel free to contact us. We desire to be transparent with our customers about our policies and procedures, and we are committed to providing our customers with superior quality products that are fabricated to their specifications.
Page 1 of 8