Skip to content

How Manufacturers Should Approach Collaboration

When searching for tool and die manufacturing services, clients often overlook a manufacturer’s approach to collaboration, instead making decisions based solely on capabilities or services. This can be detrimental to your business, as a collaborative approach can result in more reliable metal-stamped products and substantial cost savings.

At Automation Tool & Die, we believe a successful manufacturing partnership starts up front. Since we are involved from the beginning of each project, we can provide innovative engineering at a lower cost, all while bringing products to market faster.

To learn what collaborative manufacturing should look like and how it yields these results, we spoke with Ty Fritz, an inside sales representative for ATD. Fritz’s eight years at ATD include experience working in the warehouse, as tool room administrator and now in sales. 

A Manufacturer’s Approach to Collaboration and Partnership

Fritz shares details about ATD’s collaborative process in the following Q&A:

Q: What are some common barriers that manufacturers face when attempting to collaborate with customers?

A: If a client’s CAD designer is inexperienced, they can design a part that is not quite manufacturable — perhaps it would involve more tooling at a higher cost or be an unreliable part once it’s made. ATD looks at how that part can be simplified to reduce cost and be easier to produce. We back up our recommendations with facts and data in order to be as transparent as we can be with customers. 

Q: How can a collaborative approach to tool and die manufacturing benefit both the manufacturer and the customer?

A: We all know that the almighty dollar is the driving factor. If we can reduce the cost of a part by making it more manufacturable, that saves the customer money and gives them a better part while eliminating quality concerns on our end. We do this by being upfront and honest with customers to show the issues that might be of concern and what we can do to improve parts. In the past, we’ve been able to get an $18-$20 tool down to less than $10 with our capabilities with stamping tools and single hit tools, welding or any value-added process. We give some great feedback on how to make the process more manageable and still give customers what they’re looking for.

Q: Can you share an example of a successful collaboration you’ve been a part of in the tool and die industry?

A: One example is a tier-one automotive manufacturer that services Ford Motor Co., with a part for a sport utility line of vehicles. . We’re currently in the fourth iteration of this part, and we’ve shared concerns that the part as it was designed is going to be non-manufacturable unless we make certain changes. We spend the money to do as much data and research as possible in order to earn the customer’s trust. For this part, we’ve done two formal simulations to show the areas of concern. We’ve also taken part prints and marked up what exactly it is we’re looking for to be as clear and transparent as we possibly can with the customer.

Q: In what ways can automation enhance the collaborative process in tool and die manufacturing?

A: We try to do automation on every part, particularly when it comes to collaborative projects where we see areas of concern. The sooner we can get in front of it, the more proactive we can be to minimize the cost — for ATD and the customer. There might be some cost upfront, but it helps both companies in the long run.

Q: What steps can manufacturers take to ensure they are collaborating effectively with their customers?

A: We perform customer visits or invite them to our facility. We also hold virtual meetings if there are questions or concerns; those happen a lot during the RFQ process. We want to show them our capabilities and where their part would possibly run. If we have similar parts that we’ve already produced, we show them examples of what we’re talking about. Having a visual helps them understand where we’re coming from.

Since 1974, ATD has invested in our team of experts, equipment and the latest technologies to become the supplier of choice for companies seeking reliable stamped metal products, value-added services and support. To learn more about our collaborative process, request a quote or contact us today.

Discover What We're Capable Of

Partnering with ATD means receiving the quality products, services, timeliness and problem-solving support you need to win more customers.