News, Insights and Best Practices for Manufacturing in Mexico

Optimizing the metal fabrication process requires strong management

03 Oct 2013

Category: Logistics Management, Manufacturing in Mexico

The majority of manufacturers are continually on the lookout for ways to streamline their production processes, reduce their operating costs and improve the time it takes for their products to get to consumers. Metal fabrication companies often face the most challenges because many businesses provide services to other organizations, which requires their systems to be seamlessly integrated with their customers'. From extended supply chains to maximizing the flow of information, metal fabrication manufacturers understand the importance of efficient management and streamlining productivity. Yet, many businesses are unable to do so after they offshore their production processes to Mexico because they don't employ the aid of shelter companies. In today's competitive manufacturing environment, metal fabrication manufacturers are unable to efficiently expand their operations to Mexico independently and see results as well.

Issues arise without metal fabrication management
Metal fabrication often requires companies to optimize their workflows to meet customer expectations, but ineffective management can cause issues with lead times, operational costs and supply chain obligations. In an article for, Mike Bowlby, owner of Mack Hils Metal Fabrication, wrote metal fabricators are always seeking to shorten their lead times and find cheaper and faster ways to streamline the manufacturing process.

According to Bowlby, tackling these challenges calls for determined, structured and consistent management of the workforce and business. Managers can train and organize their workers again and again, but they must be able to ensure employees are working up to established production quality, capacity and performance standards. Bowlby suggested metal fabricators understand the company won't be able to reach desired business goals if managers can't effectively govern their workforce, both as individuals and as a whole. The longer these issues go on, the harder it may be to fix them and more damage is done to the company.

Bob Vormittag, president and CEO of enterprise management software company VAI, wrote in a recent article on Manufacturing Business Technology manufacturers can streamline their production processes by ensuring workers and managers follow best practices. Optimizing the use of technology for communication and putting a product quality program in place can both be great ways for metal fabricators to improve their operations. 

However, many of the solutions Bowlby and Vormittag suggest require human resources management to be present and in direct communication with the production workforce. This can be difficult for metal fabricators when they expand to Mexico independently, because finding the right partner who understands the differences between the Mexican and American workforces and who is experienced in managing metal fabrication workers can be a struggle without assistance. In fact, many U.S. businesses can see additional challenges emerge with their supply chains, production quality and ability to meet client needs if they don't use a shelter company to offshore into the country. While the Mexican workforce is extremely skilled in metal fabrication and Mexico offers a strong yet flexible supply chain, these benefits can be negated when the company is unfamiliar with Mexican laws and regulations and doesn't have a relationship with suppliers in the country.

Partnering with an experienced shelter company offers many benefits
For metal fabrication companies to successfully expand to Mexico, they should employ a shelter company. Shelter services take care of the human resources and management of the workforce, and assist the company in finding a factory location to ensure the fabrication process is in the optimal area to receive supplies and transport goods. Partnering with a shelter company gives metal fabricators the ability to reduce their lead times and optimize production processes after the business expands to Mexico.

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