APX York Sheet Metal Wins the Manufacturers’ Association’s Manufacturer of the Year 2016 Award

While APX York Sheet Metal’s focus remains squarely on delivering superior value to our customers and investing in continuous improvement efforts, it’s important to take time to celebrate successes along the way. APX York Sheet Metal is very proud to have been awarded Manufacturer of the Year 2016 and would like to express our appreciation to The Manufacturers’ Association for this prestigious honor. 

At APX York Sheet Metal we know that to be successful, we have to work together as a team. Therefore, we’d like to thank all the members of the team who wake up early and stay up late working hard to make sure we get the job done right and exceed our customers’ expectations. Awards like this are evidence that consistency and hard work pay off – congratulations team!  

The 7 Things You Should Look for in Your Sheet Metal Provider

Satisfying your customers’ needs is at the top of your list, but if your sheet metal supplier doesn’t have the same priorities as you, it could be time to re-evaluate who’s supplying your sheet metal. When seeking out a sheet metal supplier that will exceed your performance expectations, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration. Keep reading to decide if your sheet metal supplier is right for you.

1.      Quality – It almost goes without saying, but in fact it should at the top your list. If you can’t count on quality parts coming in from your sheet metal supplier, it’s time to find a new one that will surpass your quality test. Your customers don’t tolerate poor quality and you can’t either from your sheet metal supplier. Period.

2.      Delivery – While speed is important, the real key is to look for suppliers that hit the dates they commit to. This means that at times you want your supplier to push back on your due dates when they cannot meet the due date. Having that openness and trust is at the heart of any good supplier – customer relationship. The question you need to be asking isn’t ‘how quickly can you get it to me?’ but rather, ‘how confident are you that I will receive my parts when you say I will?’  The certainty that a stronger supplier provides to your supply chain beats aggressive promises and missed deliveries. It also helps if your sheet metal supplier has their own delivery trucks. This means you avoid costly, time-consuming product damages as well as shipping costs by avoiding 3rd party freight companies.

3.      Track Record/Longevity – How long has your sheet metal supplier been in business? While the two are not necessarily related, there is a solid correlation between longevity and capacity. There is truth in the axiom that ‘we’ve been around this long so we must be doing something right’, but that only goes so far. Is your sheet metal supplier modernizing their systems and equipment? Are they keeping up with the latest technology and investing in their team? These are all signs of health you want to look for in your sheet metal supplier.

4.      Price/Value – Are you getting competitive pricing? Make sure that your supplier is providing you with solid pricing. If they’re not, push to understand what the underlying cause is. Maybe there is a design-for-manufacturing conversation that needs to take place, or there needs to be a clearer picture of the purchasing forecast anticipated over the next few quarters. The number at the bottom of the quote is not the whole story, but you need to see pricing that will work for your business and allow you to provide excellent value to your customers.

5.      Responsiveness – When you call or email your sheet metal supplier, how long does it take for them to get back to you? What is the quality of that communication? Working with global customers and compressed lead-times, being able to manage changing customer demands is an important part of your business. Make sure you partner with a sheet metal supplier that is able to keep up with the dynamic nature of your needs and work alongside you to help you satisfy your customers.

6.      Willingness to Take on Tough Challenges – A true partnership requires both trust and the ability to take risks. Does your sheet metal supplier shy away from a challenge? Growing your business means incorporating new materials or technologies that allow you to outcompete.

7.      Accountability – Accountability is the foundation of trust and trust underpins every strong supplier/customer relationship. When things don’t go as planned, does your sheet metal supplier take responsibility and work to improve for the future? If not, you need to find a new sheet metal supplier. 

 

About the Author:

Andy Mulkerin (General Manager of APX York Sheet Metal) has 20 years of experience leading advanced technology development programs and overseeing global manufacturing operations. He has managed production/operations within the chemical processing, electronics, and commercial nuclear industries. He has worked on multi-billion-dollar investment and infrastructure deals, as well as spent more than a decade advising US companies on how to successfully navigate the Chinese energy market. Andy led initiatives setting up fabrication operations in China to produce equipment to the ASME NQA-1 and NNSA’s HAF604 specifications.

Andy has successfully driven technology transfer initiatives for dozens of Western energy companies including Babcock & Wilcox, Bechtel, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Energy Solutions and TerraPower.  Andy is a recognized global leader in the field of US-China nuclear energy strategy and has been cited by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Andy has collaborated on numerous initiatives with the US Department of Commerce and Department of Energy related to maximizing commercial opportunities for US companies in China. Additionally, Andy also was part of the core Blu-ray strategy team for Sony in Tokyo, Japan.

Andy has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Galvanizing & Galvannealing for Beginners

When deciding on which steel to spec for your next project, you may want to look at either galvanized or galvannealed steel. While not appropriate for many applications, if you’re considering an external application where rust is a factor, galvanized and/or galvannealed merit consideration.  It’s important to understand the uses of each as well as the differences. Both provide significant rust and corrosion protection, but there are material differences between the two types of zinc coated steel that should be understood.  

Galvanizing…

The process of galvanization involves steel sheet being immersed in molten zinc at 850 °F, through which a zinc layer is bonded to the steel substrate at a molecular level. Zinc protects the steel from oxidation when it is exposed to a corrosive environment, creating a protective layer at the base. While there are many applications wherein galvanized steel is the proper material, common uses include HVAC ducts, wrought iron gates, roofing, body parts of vehicles, safety barriers, balconies, and building framework. Galvanized steel has a spangled appearance, but is very durable and can withstand salt and the elements, which is useful in outdoor applications.

Galvannealing…

The Galvannealing process is very similar to that of galvanizing, but with galvannealing, the steel substrate is heated to 1050 °F. At this temperature, more iron is drawn out of the steel where it bonds with the zinc to form an alloy coating that is lower in zinc and higher in iron, than that of galvanized. This creates a stronger surface that allows for better weld (and paint) adhesion. Additionally, galvannealed steel has a scratch resistant surface and a low-luster, dull, matte finish which does not require a primer for paint, unlike galvanized steel. Galvannealed steel is often found in industries where long, reliable service life is required, such as the automotive, architectural, electric equipment, and signage industries.

So how do you know when to use each of these two materials in your application? When choosing between galvanized or galvannealed, consider these issues:

1.) Is significant welding involved? Due to the additional iron in the coating layer, galvannealed steel offers more weldability as compared to a galvanize coating.

2.) Is your product going to remain unpainted? If the answer is ‘yes’ then galvanized steel is almost certainly a better choice. Unpainted galvannealed steel will exhibit a reddish-orange appearance (the increased concentration of iron at the source leads to accelerated oxidation) when exposed to moisture. In almost all cases, this discoloration is something procurement professionals would look to avoid.

Now that you know when to use either of the coatings, let’s better understand how galvanized and galvannealed steel is spec’ed.

As discussed above, galvanize and galvanneal differ in the zinc coating/bonding process primarily due to difference in contact and exposure temperature. But for both galvanized and galvannealed materials, steel suppliers are able to adjust the thickness of the zinc coating to provide higher or lower density zinc penetration. For galvannealed steel, Type A40 is the minimum thickness of zinc coating in common use. Where the “A” indicates “Anneal” and the ‘40’ indicates that there is a nominal weight of .40 ounces of zinc/iron coating per square foot. Therefore, A60 galvannealed steel has a relatively thicker zinc/iron coating with .60 ounces of zinc/iron coating per square foot. As the thickness of the coating layer increases, it becomes relatively easier to weld and paint, but this thickness tends to correlate with cost from the mill so it is wise to not over spec your galvannealed requirements.

As with galvanized steel, the materials are denoted with a letter/number combination, but this time a “G” is used to signify ‘Galvanized’ while the number represents the same nominal weight (in ounces) per square foot. So G40 and G60 are both galvanized steel with .40 and .60 ounces of zinc per square foot respectively.

Based on the environment your product will be exposed to, it’s important to make sure you specify both the steel type as well as the coated zinc thickness to ensure the best performance of the material over the life time of your application.

Experienced fabricators can work with you and your engineering team to make sure that you’re using the best material for your application. Contact your supplier to discuss how you can optimize the best lifetime value of your purchasing decisions. 

About the Author:

Andy Mulkerin (General Manager of APX York Sheet Metal) has 20 years of experience leading advanced technology development programs and overseeing global manufacturing operations. He has managed production/operations within the chemical processing, electronics, and commercial nuclear industries. He has worked on multi-billion-dollar investment and infrastructure deals, as well as spent more than a decade advising US companies on how to successfully navigate the Chinese energy market. Andy led initiatives setting up fabrication operations in China to produce equipment to the ASME NQA-1 and NNSA’s HAF604 specifications.

Andy has successfully driven technology transfer initiatives for dozens of Western energy companies including Babcock & Wilcox, Bechtel, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Energy Solutions and TerraPower.  Andy is a recognized global leader in the field of US-China nuclear energy strategy and has been cited by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Andy has collaborated on numerous initiatives with the US Department of Commerce and Department of Energy related to maximizing commercial opportunities for US companies in China. Additionally, Andy also was part of the core Blu-ray strategy team for Sony in Tokyo, Japan.

Andy has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Click below to learn the benefits of galvanizing and galvannealing. 

The 6 Things You Should Double Check Before Sending Out a PO to Your Sheet Metal Supplier

One of the best ways to improve your suppliers’ performance, besides benchmarking and supplier scorecards, is through consistent and accurate communication. While all companies focus on phone calls and email exchanges as their main channels of communication, RFQs, POs, and engineering drawings are undoubtedly the most important communication lane between companies. It’s imperative you set yourself up for success by keeping all lines of communication wide open. In order to do this effectively, knowing exactly what your suppliers need from you on a PO will make communicating easy and stress-free.

Everyone understands there is a cost to incorrect information being communicated to a supplier, but incomplete or ambiguous information can systemically drag on your supply-chain and lead to increased cost and decreased agility. Before sending out your next PO to your supplier, consider these six critical factors that will make their lives, and yours, a lot easier:

1.      Revision Levels – Your purchase orders and the information they contain should mirror the drawings they come with and include all necessary details. First, consider revision levels. Have they been changed? Are they correct? Do they match the drawing? Are they actually on the PO? Additionally, keeping your rev numbers consistent with previous rev numbers will help to ensure your suppliers’ supply chain remains efficient. Asking yourself these questions and keeping revision levels consistent will prevent you needing to field that confused phone call from your supplier.

 

2.      Bending Rules – Being aware and understanding the capabilities of your suppliers’ press brake is very important. If you’re unsure about press brake capabilities, ask yourself the following questions: Are there any holes too close to the bend line? Are there rips required? Are these rips included? Understanding the mechanics and limitations of your suppliers’ press brake is important for you and your engineering team in order to interface efficiently with your sheet metal supplier.

 

3.      Equipment Capacity – Your suppliers’ equipment has limitations – do you know what they are? Knowing this will help you order parts without having to compromise part integrity or quality. Do you know the answer to these questions: What is the max part size your supplier can laser cut? What is the max length they can bend? And at what type/thickness of material? If you don’t know, stop reading this blog and pick up the phone – you and your supplier need to talk more!

 

4.      When Do You Need What?  – Let’s be honest, terms like ASAP are overused and aren’t that useful. Not to mention, front loading due dates to ‘buffer’ for late delivery is very inefficient. Strong suppliers are capable of staging deliveries and shipments to be triggered when they’re needed, in addition to flowing that information back through their production planning activities to ensure their operation is tuned to their customers’ needs. Ask for what you want when you want it and open that dialog with your key suppliers!

 

5.      Incomplete/Erroneous Information – Always double check a PO to ensure your supplier is receiving all the information they need in order to fulfill the order. Glance over the order once more before hitting send to see if anything is incorrectly displayed. Consider these things: Are there any markings on your drawings that are out-of-place or would be considered unexpected to your supplier? Perhaps indicating a grain-finish on carbon steel? Anything that forces the shop floor to hesitate and reconfirm because they’re not sure they understand what they’re looking at will slow your suppliers' supply-chain down.  

 

6.      Is it similar? – While it’s the suppliers’ responsibility to review all information, and make to the print, if you order the same parts regularly from a supplier and then make a very subtle change in terms of how something is bent or welded, there is a risk that this important difference will get missed on the shop floor because the operators will think they know what they’re looking at when in fact your requirement is slightly different. Use notes in the drawing to call out information you want the operators to be aware of. 

About the Author:

Andy Mulkerin (General Manager of APX York Sheet Metal) has 20 years of experience leading advanced technology development programs and overseeing global manufacturing operations. He has managed production/operations within the chemical processing, electronics, and commercial nuclear industries. He has worked on multi-billion-dollar investment and infrastructure deals, as well as spent more than a decade advising US companies on how to successfully navigate the Chinese energy market. Andy led initiatives setting up fabrication operations in China to produce equipment to the ASME NQA-1 and NNSA’s HAF604 specifications.

Andy has successfully driven technology transfer initiatives for dozens of Western energy companies including Babcock & Wilcox, Bechtel, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Energy Solutions and TerraPower.  Andy is a recognized global leader in the field of US-China nuclear energy strategy and has been cited by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Andy has collaborated on numerous initiatives with the US Department of Commerce and Department of Energy related to maximizing commercial opportunities for US companies in China. Additionally, Andy also was part of the core Blu-ray strategy team for Sony in Tokyo, Japan.

Andy has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

The 6 Things Your Boss Wants You to Know About On-Shoring

Global procurement leaders are focusing more and more on balancing the off-shore and on-shore manufactured content within their equipment or manufactured products. With China’s admission into the World Trade Organization in 2001, the United States saw a shift of production into China as companies chased lower cost sourcing options. Since 2001, much has changed, and today, best practices in procurement demands a more holistic view of sourcing where the cost of speed, cost of oversight, impact of poor quality, and value of advanced supply-chain communications techniques are more properly considered.

With the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, forward looking supply- chain executives are thinking ahead as to how to reorient their supply-chains’ center-of-gravity to ensure their company is managing risk effectively as they continue to compete in the global marketplace.

Before you dive into an on-shoring initiative, it is prudent to take a measure twice, cut once approach. In order to make a compelling case for on-shoring, your boss wants you to take the following 6 things into consideration:

1.      Speed to Market – It’s clearer every day that end customers demand what they need, when they need it, and will not tolerate anything less. Understanding how your customer’s value this speed (and are therefore willing to pay for it) allows supply-chain managers to price this value into their on-shoring analysis.

 

2.      Lower Working Capital Requirements – With a less sprawling, more agile US-based supply-chain, a company will no longer need to tie up as much money in inventory, thus freeing up cash.

 

But Remember...

 

3.      Some Reengineering Required – Whether the product or parts to be on-shored were developed abroad or shipped over in the mid-2000s, they have likely morphed since then and have been supported with labor intensive manufacturing processes that are appropriate for low-skill, low-wage countries like China. As this work is on-shored, reviewing all drawings and looking at how to use a combination of DFM and automation to ensure excellent value is provided by your US- based supplier is an essential step in the process and one that companies cannot afford to overlook.

 

4.      Quality Expectations Can Be Increased – While Chinese suppliers vary in their ability to deliver quality products to print, it’s fair to say that on average, their quality is inferior to that of American suppliers. Therefore, it is imperative that these American suppliers are held to a higher set of expectations in terms of delivering parts in conformance so that you as the supply- chain manager can realize savings accrued from a supply-chain capable of delivering higher quality. You’re now working with suppliers that are able to deliver more – demand it from them.

 

5.      Communication is King – With shared language and culture, much more can happen much more efficiently. A supply-chain executive must force the realization of this value by pushing for team conference calls, design reviews, forecast sharing and other rapid response and resolution business processes. There is value to your company in enabling higher-level communications within your supply chain, don’t treat this as a theoretical goal, but take action to ensure the impact is realized in your company’s bottom-line.

 

6.      Focus on Doing More – Having capable, high-quality, and responsive suppliers providing your company with excellent performance allows you to spend more of your time managing continuous improvement efforts. You will not need to spend as much time fighting fires 12 time zones away in Mandarin Chinese. Time is the scarcest resource you have – use it wisely to provide your customers with more value!

 

About the Author:

Andy Mulkerin (General Manager of APX York Sheet Metal) has 20 years of experience leading advanced technology development programs and overseeing global manufacturing operations. He has managed production/operations within the chemical processing, electronics, and commercial nuclear industries. He has worked on multi-billion-dollar investment and infrastructure deals, as well as spent more than a decade advising US companies on how to successfully navigate the Chinese energy market. Andy led initiatives setting up fabrication operations in China to produce equipment to the ASME NQA-1 and NNSA’s HAF604 specifications.

Andy has successfully driven technology transfer initiatives for dozens of Western energy companies including Babcock & Wilcox, Bechtel, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Energy Solutions and TerraPower.  Andy is a recognized global leader in the field of US-China nuclear energy strategy and has been cited by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Andy has collaborated on numerous initiatives with the US Department of Commerce and Department of Energy related to maximizing commercial opportunities for US companies in China. Additionally, Andy also was part of the core Blu-ray strategy team for Sony in Tokyo, Japan.

Andy has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.