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Relationship Goals

Shannon Wetzel

Are you in a healthy relationship? This is a common article topic in lifestyle magazines. But for Casting Source, I’m wondering about your relationship with your casting supplier. What’s healthy?

Well, it seems basic but a lot of it comes down to communication. Take the partnership between Great Lakes Castings and Meijer, which is featured on page 28 of this issue. The two companies had never worked together before, and the project they were launching—cast iron fitness equipment—was unique for both of them. Without an open line of dialogue, both companies could have missed out on revenue.

“This is an unusual project for both of us, so there was a lot of communication involved,” said Scott Shuette, Meijer Team Sports and Fitness Buyer. “From Day 1, it was kind of, ‘Alright, we’ve never done this. How can we make it happen?’ We just proceeded from there, and the whole [GLC] organization from top to bottom has been super accommodating.” 

While Great Lakes Castings and Meijer are on the budding side of a customer-supplier relationship, Magna and Acura, who worked together on this year’s Casting of the Year winner highlighted on page 20, represent long-term commitment. Years of collaboration and mutual respect are reflected in their latest success: a front subframe engine cradle diecast in aluminum that pushed the limits of the process in terms of size while reducing weight and improving the crash-worthiness of the vehicle.

Healthy business relationships drive innovation to the mutual benefit of each partner. They lead to cost savings, improved performance and fewer headaches. As a casting buyer it is important to establish and communicate clearly the goals and expectations from your supplier. On the flip side, if you aren’t getting the same in return, it might be time to shop for another source.