Modern Machine Shop

FEB 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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Page 43 of 147

THE VIEW FROM MY SHOP MMS FEBRUARY 2018 42 A Metalworking Leader's Perspective We're Customers, Too Like many shop owners, my team and I face challenges every day. They range from meeting strict customer deadlines to dealing with equip- ment problems. And that's just the start of it. There never seems to be a day without a diffi- cult obstacle to overcome. Some of these daily problems stand out more than others, often as a result of actions by our own suppliers. Here are the ones that cause my blood pressure to rise the most: Key Tools Are Discontinued Salespeople try to sell you new tools, like end mills, all the time. They let you try them out, and usually the tools work well. Since all of us in the CNC business realize the benefit of stan- dardizing, we begin to use these tools exclu- sively. All is well, until one day we go to order more of that tool, our vendor says the manu- facturer has stopped making the tool, and there are none left. We've invested a lot of time in this tool, and almost all our programs use it. Now we have to find yet another tool and redo all our processes. Salespeople Don't Know Their Products Time is always in short supply. Customers are the most important part of our business and get most of our time. But suppliers and potential suppliers want some of it as well, and we need to constantly seek out new products that could help the business. The problem is that more and more sales- people don't seem to know the products they represent well enough. In fact, sometimes they don't know much more than what they read in their own company's literature, if that much. Sales meetings with representatives like this become fruitless and cause us to start painting every salesperson with the same brush. And they wonder why we don't buy from them. Suppliers Don't Give Notice of Late Deliveries This frustrating issue ranks at the very top of my list. Shops need to bring materials, tooling and people together to make products for our customers, and we work hard to deliver those products. When our suppliers don't tell us that mate- rials or tooling are going to be late arriving to our shop, we can't plan accordingly. We sometimes don't find out about a delay until the day we expected the delivery to arrive, and even then only because we called to find out why a shipment did not arrive when expected. Then we have to inform our customers that their orders will be late, and/or put our own employees and other vendors under high pres- sure to get the job out on time. Obviously, this lack of advance notice creates a highly stressful atmosphere for everyone. We put our customers first; it seems reasonable to expect our suppliers to do the same for us. We are their customers, after all. Shops face a variety of challenges virtually every day. Many of those challenges stem from dealings with our own suppliers. UDO JAHN | GENERAL MANAGER | MODERN ENGINEERING

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