What are your business goals for the year ahead? If you’re like many manufacturers, you’re hoping to hire more skilled workers. Unemployment levels remain low, however, and some companies are finding that they need to pay a premium just to keep the workers that they have. Are you ready to absorb the added expense? Even if your sales are soaring, it’s important to look at ways to reduce labor costs.
Here are five tips to consider as you plan for a profitable 2020.
- Investigate outsourcing
- Use the right materials
- Simplify receiving and inventory
- Speed assembly
- Ease installation
Let’s examine each tip in terms of gasket fabrication backed by added-value services.
#1 Investigate Outsourcing
Do you cut gaskets with hand tools and then bond the cut lengths by hand? Some manufacturers think that gasket fabrication always costs less when it’s performed in-house. What these companies aren’t considering, however, is that their workers’ wages may be higher than the labor rate at a gasket fabricator. If you’re paying a welder who earns $25/hr. to cut and bond rubber, your seals will surely cost more than ones produced at a gasket fabricator where employees earn $15/hr. Plus, while welders are skilled metalworkers, they may be less efficient than a “rubber worker” who makes gaskets every day.
#2 Use the Right Materials
Choosing the right material means understanding when a specialty compound is required and when a commercial grade rubber is sufficient. Engineers want to make sure that the products they design meet application requirements but over-specifying an elastomer can incur unnecessary costs. In addition to paying more per unit of material, you may have to buy greater minimum order quantities (MOQs). Before adding a requirement like “UL 50 rubber” to a drawing then, determine whether it’s really necessary. If you need “ASTM rubber”, determine which alphanumeric standard you need to meet.
#3 Simplify Receiving and Inventory
Do you purchase several types of finished gaskets for a project? Then consider how kitting and UV parts marking can simplify your receiving and inventory operations. Instead of processing several boxes with different SKUs, a receiver can handle a single box – a kit – that contains all of the gaskets that are needed. With just-in-time inventory (JIT), the box may not even require stocking. Rather, the kit can move directly from the receiving area to the assembly line. Then, because these kitted parts arrive clearly marked, there’s no confusion about part numbers. UV parts marking is crisp, clean, and easy-to-read.
#4 Speed Assembly
Custom packaging complements kitting and parts marking. This value-added service can also help you reduce labor costs. Let’s say you need a kit that contains different types of insulation for the cabin of a specialty vehicle. Elasto Proxy can arrange the acoustic insulation and flooring in order of assembly for more efficient operations. In other words, the top-most part is the one that’s installed first. The part at the bottom of the box is the one that’s installed last. This lets the assembler start with the cab’s ceiling, work down the walls, and finish with the flooring.
#5 Ease Installation
Manufacturers in industries such as mobile equipment sometimes use adhesive spraying to attach thermal or acoustic insulation. Spraying can require time-consuming compliance with health and safety regulations and may also require labor-intensive setup and cleanup activities. By contrast, custom insulation can attach with pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape. Your installer simply peels away the backing material and sticks the acoustic insulation to the cabin surface.
Reduce Your Labor Costs in 2020
Would you like to reduce your labor costs in 2020? Elasto Proxy is ready to help you get started. Instead of cutting and bonding gasket by hand, ask us about computer-controlled water jet cutting and your choice of bonding methods. In addition to custom fabrication, Elasto Proxy offers value-added services like design assistance, help with materials selection, parts marking, kitting, and custom packaging. Don’t wait until January 1st to start saving time and money. Contact us to get started.