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Questions You Should Be Asking

Kim Phelan

If you think about it, the way your company chooses a casting supplier is similar to how we form relationships in life.

Professionally, you’re concerned with cost, quality, and time, and those priorities, in one way or another, certainly come into play as we choose the people we want in our lives. In the context of choosing a mate, for example, we all have boxes to check if that relationship’s going any further. For me, the big one was intelligence–– and I always believed a sense of humor was very good evidence of a great intellect. Twenty-five years after saying “I do,” I’m still grinning every day!

You know another good barometer for intelligence? Questions. You have to be a thinker to ask good questions. And you can’t make an informed decision without them.

In this issue of Casting Source, questions serendipitously became something of a theme. It all gets rolling on page 10 with Dave Charbauski laying a solid foundation of what you, as a casting buyer, should specifically be asking when you speak with a prospective foundry. So many clues to a supplier’s ability to produce to your expectations lie inside the responses you’ll hear.

Over on page 24, Len Weber at AFS Corporate Member Batesville Products, shows how to engage a casting supplier in meaningful conversations that will lead to an effective partnership. Experienced insight to further hone your question-asking skills continues on page 28, where four AFS Corporate Members explain how to determine which welded and fabricated parts in your products would potentially perform better and cost less as a casting.

Asking good questions really boils down to you getting really good at due diligence. Susan Bear, chief technology officer at AFS Corporate Member Grede, spent over a year researching providers before making the final call about software that would underpin the company’s massive move toward smart manufacturing. Had she not been asking the right questions, she would have missed out on securing one of their top Industry 4.0 priorities: artificial intelligence. Beginning on page 16, you can read about the benefits you reap when a future-minded foundry adopts IoT technology.

Now, here’s a question for you: Where else can you acquire knowledge that will build on your technical grasp of metalcasting? The answer is on page 35, but I’ll give you a clue: The AFS Metalcasting Congress April 23–25 in Milwaukee is packed with content designed with you in mind. We hope to have the pleasure of greeting you there. (metalcastingcongress.org)