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A New Normal

Rich Jefferson

Moving supply chains for cast metal components out of China is one thing. Reshoring them to North America is even better. 

If you design metalcastings, buy them as part of your job as a commodity manager, and certainly if you manufacture castings, you have a powerful stake in the foundry supply chain. 

What are the best parts for your finished products? How do you add those desperately sought efficiencies to your supply chain? In this time of sickness-induced lockdowns and curtailment of international commerce, companies are revisiting these questions. 

North American metalcasters can help you understand if the best components are cast metal parts or not. The foundries I talk to don’t have any interest in trying to make castings that would not be superior parts for your product. 

On the other hand, there is a significant supply of technical know-how among foundry engineers. As you will see in the next edition of Casting Source, when we cover the submissions for the Casting of the Year competition, you might find that you can reduce some of the complications of your supply chain by converting components from a combination of bolted elements to one elegant, efficient foundry product. 

For now, see page 10 and consider the many supply chain efficiencies available by moving from five bolted parts which all have to be effectively sourced to specifications, to one-stop shopping at a foundry. 

One contentious point between buyers and sellers is price. It’s been that way since the first castings made in ancient Anatolia. But is the final price really that significant when you face challenges in quality and actual delivery? 

Regarding the true cost of final parts, you need to look at the Total Cost of Ownership Estimator discussed on page 15. The Reshoring Initiative can demonstrate, with the TCO, that your real final price of cast parts from overseas is not as wonderful as you may think. Besides, now is the time to move your supply chain to North America, where you can depend on trucks and railroads to manage lead times. 

As for quality, that aspect that seems so often tied to price, let’s put that in perspective. Supply chain expert Eddie Davila explains that supply chains are analyzed in four categories: Cost, quality, speed, and flexibility. A North American supply chain will offer speed and flexibility and the TCO will show you real costs. 

Managing quality is about relationships. Which means flexibility and face-to-face meetings when appropriate. It means reliability and consistency. If you want quality cast parts from a North American supply chain, you should check the Casting Source Directory linked from 

Throughout history there have been times of serious and deadly diseases. They have all passed, albeit with sadness and loss for survivors who remain when the sickness subsides. A new normal will emerge, and it will include manufacturing. It will include North American foundries. CS

Click here to see the full digital edition of the March/April 2020 Casting Source