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Nonferrous foundrymen 'chart the future.' (Non-Ferrous Founders' Society's annual meeting)

Gathering over Columbus Day weekend for the 1992 Non-Ferrous Founders' Society (NFFS) Annual Meeting on October 11-14 in Hilton Head, South Carolina, 79 nonferrous foundry executives shared ideas on how to keep their heads above water in turbulent times.

Summing up the task of small foundry owners, Michael Roy, George S. May International Co., said: "You get going in a business and have a dream--and then have a constant series of problems to solve."

As the society celebrated its 50th year, nine speakers provided insight on hidden problems and opportunities, the U.S. election and its impact on business, solving credit problems and avoiding molten metal accidents.

Planning for Growth

"If we choose to ignore our customer's demands, they can go shopping in a worldwide market," said Herb O'Rourke, Business Growth Advisors, Inc., Naperville, Illinois. "It all comes down to 'Are you the lowest price?'"

Noting that loyalty is a thing of the past and "business as usual" no longer exists, he said, "We need to decide who we want to do business with and how to do it. There's such a thing as unprofitable dollars and if they don't fit with what you do best, get out. Don't stay in a relationship where the customer is using you and puts nothing into it. Take a look at your strengths and carve out your own niche."

O'Rourke noted that in reality, customers determine quality--it's what they say it is.

Edgar Wyrwas, Wyrwas Aluminum, Cleveland, Ohio, and NFFS 1st vice president, offered his thoughts on the quality issue. "Customers want better quality for a lesser price," he said. "Quality castings have been made for years, but there's a fallacy in some quality tests. We're spending the customer's money and our money to do redundant testing."

O'Rourke concluded: "Excellence is necessary in everything. Either you're changing and improving or you're dying."

Regulatory Update

Providing an update on regulations facing nonferrous foundries was Martha Guimond, Joseph A. Guimond & Assoc., Souderton, Pennsylvania.

A major issue is the cadmium standard, which has been coming for a long time. "It's a killer," she said of the standard, which drastically dropped the permissible exposure limit. "It makes the lead standard look tame. You've got to get it out of painting, plating, welding and electronics. If it's there in the baghouse, then it's also in the shop."

She noted that the EPA will soon require source reduction strategies. Every bit of waste will have to be categorized and described, and foundries will have to offer the solution.

Offering advice to the group, she said, "Save time and energy for the big battles ahead--don't fight the forms. Basically, have all your paperwork done. Baffle them with your footwork--it looks great.

"If we're uniform in documentation, we'll communicate that it's just industry practice. We're not the bad guys."

She also noted that OSHA fines are becoming a crapshoot. "The old inspector would be in and out in a half-day and point out a few things. The young guy right out of OSHA training thinks its a dirty, filthy, capitalist industry. He'll give you 'rich, capitalist thieves' $40,000 in fines."

She stressed the importance of documentation--particularly in getting training programs on paper. "If, for some reason, someone gets severely injured or killed, you can't ask to see if he was trained," Guimond said. "You must have a program you can prove works."

ISO 9000

Sue Jackson, DuPont Quality Management & Technology Center, Newark, Delaware, told what ISO 9000 means to the foundry industry.

"It will be a requirement for doing business--like a driver's license," she said. "It's not rocket science. In fact, you're already doing a lot of it in some way."

She said problems arise because people paint themselves into a corner when they develop their own standards that are too stringent to follow.

Incidentally, the standard also boosts foundry efficiency--reducing total costs by 10-30%. She said ISO 9000 registered companies improved delivery, final assembly yield and first-pass yield, while reducing nonconformance, scrap, cycle time, labor, methods, costly incidents and warehouse errors.
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Article Details
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Author:Lessiter, Michael J.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:Export prospects buoy industry.
Next Article:Gains mark 1992 ICI gathering.

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