Shorter lead times in Metal Fabrication

Noble Industries is a metal fabrication company serving the states of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri,  Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, Wisconsin and surrounding states.  Even with the current gas prices, we have customers in California, Texas, Montana and other states west of what is known as the “Midwest”.

Noble Industries has been in business since 1969 and much has changed in metal fabrication since the early years.  Initially, customers were able to plan for months in advance on their usage of a metal fabricated part.  Today, even those customers that have purchased steel metal products from us for over 40 years, are hesitant to give firm predictions or release dates of the steel metal product until a few weeks before they want delivery.  This can be for 20 different parts in many different sheet metal gauges or plate with complex metal forming and powder coating.  Each operation takes time to complete and a set up on a press brake may take from 30 minutes to 1 hour.  A customer will choose to spread that metal fabrication set up fee to 500 pieces for this week and 750 pieces for next week instead of a larger production run that will last them a little longer before the need to reorder.  With all these shorter lead times, Noble Industries is still able to ship 40,000 tons of steel metal products a week efficiently because of advances in equipment and trained employees.

As a nation, we have taken “lean manufacturing” to a point that some days it is “chaos manufacturing”.  Purchasing managers are stressed out as their shareholders want to them to find metal fabricators who can do more with less time or won’t approve the purchase of metal fabricated parts until a few weeks before they need them.  How does a metal fabrication company plan and schedule under these conditions?

At Noble Industries, we have found many ways to stay lean, become more efficient and to do more with less time.  Some of the ways are:

  • better nesting of parts on laser cutting equipment or turret punch presses
  • improved MRP and scheduling system to see material and equipment availability
  • acquisition of newer equipment that can process parts faster
  • cross-training of employees so that they can move to multiple work centers

Call Noble Industries at 317-773-1926 today for a quote on your current project.   We are growing and looking forward to helping your business grow!