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"Using the best of the best".: conference stresses ways to use people, time and facilities to advance customer needs.

Foundries should know that for quality-conscious casting buyers, there is a big difference between a price and a cost supplier. Selling only on price is courting financial disaster in today's competitive market."

With this statement, Jack Porter, director of central purchasing for Caterpillar, Inc., the annual user of more than $180 million worth of castings, defined the general thrust of a series of presentations that marked the 1991 Midwest Regional Conference of AFS chapters held recently in Cleveland, Ohio.

Nearly 450 attendees heard several foundry executives outline their views of what can give a competitive edge to American foundries anxious to protect domestic markets and those seeking to enter or play a broader role in the casting export market

George Booth, principal speaker for the conference and general manager of the Casting Div., Ford Motor Co., said foundries must be prepared to search out successful companies for management skills that will foster success.

Booth referred to this process as benchmarking-looking at what is possible to achieve in a successful workplace and adapting winning ideas and methods to get there. He said a big part of success is emulating the best of the best by setting goals, measuring true productivity, solving real problems, becoming competitive and creatively adapting the best practices of successful companies.

R. Conner Warren, executive vice president of Citation Corp. and AFS president, used his company as an example to explain that a foundry's primary path to profitability lies with collecting and using accurate in-house cost data. He cited the importance of production standards verification that reflects true manufacturing costs and, ultimately, the selling price of each casting.

"The shrinking world and the U.S. dollar fluctuations put heavy emphasis on the ability of domestic foundries to forge long-term commitments with overseas casting users," stated Rick James, president of Auburn Foundry, Inc. He said the key to winning international sales is expending sufficient time and effort to establish a variety of mutually beneficial business and intercompany relationships.

When the dollar was the paramount world currency and the U.S. was the principal supplier of much of the world's goods and services, selling overseas was relatively simple, James said. Supporting casting sales outside the U. S. will require the same attention to quality and service as selling to any domestic casting buyer, he concluded.

Ray Witt, chairman and CEO of CMI International, Inc. and AFS vice president, said foundries need authoritative counsel on the environmental issues affecting them.

He urged attendees to strongly support AFS' Washington efforts to get the industry's message across to a Congress that is generally uninformed on foundry concerns.

Echoing Witt's statements, Gary L. Thoe, president and COO of Waupaca Foundry, Inc., said his company has spent upwards of 15 million in the last six years to comply with state air emissions control regulations.

A panel from Chrysler's Indianapolis Foundry recounted its experiences with restructuring the foundry's management hierarchy to reflect greater participation of the entire work force. Murvin Enders, foundry general manager, said it has been difficult to move from the traditional American management style to a new way of assigning responsibility for all manufacturing operations, but he contended that the U.S. cannot afford not to change.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:American Foundrymen's Society Midwest Regional Conference
Author:Bex, Tom
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Previous Article:Industry needs educated workers and management flexibility.
Next Article:U.S. Navy salutes Consolidated Casting for Operation Desert Storm support.

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