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Voice of the industry: the steel industry has been one of the hardest hit by the economic downturn of the past few years. What do you believe steel foundries must do to rebound?

Steel foundries do not need to reinvent the wheel. We should have a positive attitude and do what other industries have done--become more efficient by producing more with less. We must work faster, reduce rework and scrap, and work harder (but smarter) by using all the available tools. We must be customer oriented and decide what types of castings we should be making at our facility.

All of the above takes a long time to implement and with a shrinking market and unfair competition, mainly from China, I consider time to be time scarcest resource around. I have faith that we will come out better and stronger.

Willy Oyarzabal, Jr., Sales Director-Steel Division, Fimex, Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico

We have to make money! If our foundries become profitable, then we can do the things that will keep us competitive. There is no reason to be price competitive if we are going broke. We have to charge for everything that our customers require--quality, service and dependability. We need to provide more of our customers' requirements--machining, consignment programs, etc. The idea is to be like Wal-Mart--"One Stop Shopping."

We also need to support a strong research program through Steel Founders' Society of America to develop markets, productivity and quality. We need to implement programs such as Six Sigma and ISO in the areas of productivity, cost reduction and quality. We need to reduce the cost of people through training, safety programs and wellness programs. We need to develop our future managers through training, scholarships and internship programs. Our industry faces a huge challenge.

Nick Onofrio, President, Southwest Steel Casting Co., Longview, Texas

We need to operate profitably to improve the financial position of the industry and prepare to reinvest in the plant as business improves. We need to design and assemble parts so we own the performance and value of the part. We need to implement the technology developed to dramatically improve productivity, quality and part complexity Finally, we need to recruit the next generation of leaders for the industry.

Raymond Monroe, Executive Vice President, Steel Founders' Society of America

In order to rebound in the steel foundry industry, foundries need to reinvest capital in robotics and specialized equipment. This will enable the industry to be more productive and produce a consistently better casting. The only way we will be able to compete and create a niche for our industry in the future is to establish a shorter delivery time. This can be accomplished by being more productive with time assistance of current technology.

Also, our industry racist be more customer conscious. We must be able to respond quickly to the expressed needs and be more flexible in changing our processes to meet those needs. This is a different mind-set than was employed in the past, but we must change with the times in order to survive as an industry. We must be able to incorporate change in our business cultures and make it a way of life to complete in this world market.

Joe Emmerichs, Vice President and General Manager, Pacific Steel Casting Co., Berkeley, California.

Our industry's cost increases have far outpaced our ability to offset these costs through new mechanical and technological advancements. We need to know what our tree costs are now, and if we can offset them while remaining viable. We need to price accordingly for the future of our firms and employees. We need to continually value add to the part while adding incremental profit.

Mickey Beyersdorfer, President, Sawbrook Steel Castings Co., Cincinnati
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Title Annotation:Shakeout: hear what industry voices have to say ...
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:587
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