Improving Costs, Optimizing Parts: Changing How the Castings Industry Designs Products
November 10, 2021
The past 18 months have forced organizations of all sizes to find new ways to connect and collaborate with their customers.
That’s certainly been the case at Grede.
Since we began operating as an independent developer and manufacturer of ductile, gray, and specialty iron castings and machined components, we’ve emphasized a different approach to customer relations that extends far beyond virtual meetings.
Grede’s Approach to Casting
At Grede, we’re striving to change how the castings industry designs products from the get-go.
Under the traditional model, castings have been an afterthought, where an original equipment manufacturer designs a part and sends it to casting suppliers for a quote.
But it’s too late at that point to find cost savings or design efficiencies.
Instead, Grede’s engineers work hand-in-hand with our customers from the first step of ideation to the release of the final product. Our team will take a customer’s data and collaborate in unison with them to see what can be improved to lower costs by making a part more manufacturable, lower weight and/or improving the supply chain.
These interactions may occur several times over multiple rounds, and the product evolves along the way.
The idea is that we’re helping our customers design optimally up front so that from an engineering, manufacturing and quality standpoint, we’re setting ourselves and the customer up for success by giving them an optimized design from the start.
Grede’s Casting Technical Excellence Program
From this approach came Grede’s customer roadshow initiative, where we share our Casting Technical Excellence program — what we call the “bible” of casting excellence. Over two days of training modules that have largely been virtual during the pandemic, our engineers share their expertise on optimal part design.
As part of the program, our team demonstrates a customer’s existing product that we’ve reconfigured to pull out costs and add design efficiencies — what’s commonly called Value Analysis and Value Engineering (and what Grede refers to as Optimal Design, Optimal Product, or ODOP).
On a micro level, Grede’s ODOP process and approach to customer collaboration helps a client understand where they can save costs and design.
On a macro level, we believe this tactic will lead to industry-wide improvements to optimized designs, cost savings for customers and overall higher quality parts that keep vehicles, trucks and machines running.
Your Partner in Innovative Casting Design
If you are looking for a partner in designing your castings in an innovative and cost-effective manner, I’d be happy to talk to you. Grede will work with our customers to be a leader in an ever-changing industry.