prototype machining

Top 5 Questions to Ask When Considering Prototype Machining

Cass Precision Machining is proud to unveil Cass Rapid Prototype Machining (C-RPM), a new independent business unit operating within our five-building campus. C-RPM significantly ramps up our ability to serve you with prototype build-to-print contract machined parts services with accelerated delivery responsiveness. Operating as a business within a business, C-RPM’s “high touch” service connects you directly with our prototyping team. C-RPM continues our 75-year commitment to providing the “Best-in-Class” service.

News of the launch of our C-RPM unit was recently in the news, getting featured on websites MarketWatch, the Chicago Daily Herald, and Minnesota Metals News.

When considering outsourcing your prototype machining requirements, here are five questions you should be asking your supplier candidates:

1. Will I have access to DFM (Design for Manufacturing) resources?

When optimizing functionality and cost of new parts, the most experienced design engineers will seek to collaborate with production engineers to assure that their designs take full advantage of the lowest cost options available for the part, while still achieving desired functionality.  Your supplier should be able to provide your design team access to the right folks to review and confirm your prototype design or suggest options that assure production-ability within cost targets.

2. Are design intent, application specifics, and life cycle requirements part of the pre-order dialogue?

Best DFM practices suggest that designers collaborate with the supplier to understand the fit of the part into the overall design, the functional requirements, and the life cycle volume expectations so that your supplier comes to the table with recommendations to improve your design while optimizing your cost position.

3. Are material selection, critical tolerances, and general manufacturing standards addressed and confirmed at time of order entry?

Industry experts claim that 70 to 80% of the life cycle cost of a part is locked in once the design is finalized and released to production.  Before building that first prototype part, checking in with your supplier to confirm that your material selection is the lowest cost alternative for your application and that the critical tolerances can be achieved, but also have been reviewed and optimized with your supplier helps assure that the best starting point for cost can be delivered.  Don’t forget to compare your general drawing requirements (e.g. tolerances, finish specs, etc.) with your suppliers’ shop standards as another means of identifying areas where production costs can be minimized.

4. Can the supplier provide you with a “complete part”?

It is a challenge – particularly under design-build schedules calling for breakneck speed to market responsiveness – to choose a supplier and then have to vet, select and qualify additional suppliers for finishing services or value-added features on your part. Shop for the prototype supplier that can coordinate it all for you and relieve some of the hassles that quick turn manufacturing presents to your supply chain professionals.

5. Can the supplier support the full life cycle requirements for your parts?

There is no doubt that when working with rapid prototype machining, there is an advantage to being able to partner with the same supplier. Clearly, the costs of switching suppliers can be prohibitive and under today’s JIT supply chain pressures, logistically challenging as well. An often overlooked benefit is the ease of processing rev changes over the life cycle of the part to respond to functionality needs or to aid in cost reduction/management when your supplier remains a constant.

We encourage you to build these five questions into your prototype machining supplier selection process. We look forward to being challenged to reply to your specifics when you include Cass into the mix. We think you’ll like our answers and look forward to building strong partnerships with you for the long haul!

New Business Development

Cass Hires Director of New Business Development

Cass Precision Machining is excited to announce that Derick White has joined Cass as the Director of New Business Development. Derick has a successful background in marketing and sales, along with developing strong sales organizations. “Derick and I have known each other for over eight years and have combined efforts in the past to strengthen sales,” said Jim Garvin, President of Cass.  “I am thrilled that he has decided to join the Cass team.”

White will spearhead new market expansion initiatives for Cass, including prototyping services, pre-production services, as well as help lead new equipment investments that connect to growing industries, including forestry, agriculture, electronics, and more.

White comes to Cass with three decades of sales experience, including senior consulting and sales management coaching roles. “I’ve worked with and coached manufacturing companies on appropriate sales, and I know how to get sales going.”

An accomplished and versatile sales leader with a focus on B2B sales and business development, White has a proven track record of generating sustainable revenue and growth in rapidly changing, dynamic environments. White believes his pragmatic approach to developing high-performing sales teams is an excellent fit for Cass.

“Price is not the only factor in serving our customers. If you don’t deliver product on time, with great quality and effective communication, it impacts the production line. These factors affect the ability of the manufacturer to do an efficient and effective job of delivering their product to their customer in a timely manner, so I don’t buy into the ‘price is the only factor’ line of thinking,” said White. “You don’t grow and sustain the strong customer base Cass has for decades on price alone.”

Manufacturing on the Rise

White begins at Cass at a unique time in manufacturing when the global pandemic caused uncertainty throughout the industry.  The pandemic certainly caused problems for manufacturers across the board in getting product out the door. Six months later, however, Cass is seeing an increase in orders as manufacturers are now playing catch up.

“Cass has made every effort to support our clients and help them through the pandemic. This has included operational changes so that we can make sure that their product gets out the door on time and with good quality,” said White. “Now the demand is a lot higher as clients have adjusted their businesses. For instance, the demand for retail lawnmowers has gone through the roof, with so many people working from home. We’re helping our customers manage these new demands by making the necessary changes internally.”

White believes firmly in enhancing Cass’ CRM platforms, including a focus on quarterly business reviews with customers that strengthen partnerships and improves performance. “We need to understand how we’re performing, where our clients need support, what their vision is moving forward,” said White. “That gives us an opportunity to pause and assess and to make adjustments on both sides to get the highest level of results.”

“It’s an exciting challenge for me, and I’m a big believer in the Cass tag line: Consistent. Reliable. Trusted,” said White. “Those are three traits that everyone in this industry is looking for, and certainly three words that I try to live up to every day.”

Away from the office, you’ll probably find Derick and his wife up in northern Minnesota, either hunting or fishing. “I’m passionate about pheasant hunting, deer hunting, and fishing for trout, bass, walleye, or muskie. We regularly head up to the Gunflint Trail or the Boundary Waters once or twice a year as our family vacation.”

 

JIT Inventory Management

How a Just-In-Time (JIT) Inventory Management Strategy Can Help Reduce Costs

In today’s manufacturing environment it is harder than ever to maintain your competitive position, and keep the right parts in stock that support your production floor. Partnering with your suppliers to manage your inventory and forecast your future requirements are the cornerstones of Just-In-Time (JIT) production planning and inventory management.  If JIT is not integral to your supply chain strategy you are likely leaving money on the table.

5 JIT Planning Questions You Should Consider

Read more “How a Just-In-Time (JIT) Inventory Management Strategy Can Help Reduce Costs”

Jim Garvin Named to Board of Directors for Diversified Plastics, Inc.

Cass Precision Machining is proud to announce that its President, Jim Garvin, has been named to the Board of Directors for Diversified Plastics, Inc. (DPI), a custom plastic-injection molder of high-precision thermoplastic components. As part of the board, Garvin will provide leadership and strategic guidance and serve as an adviser to DPI’s CEO and executive team.

“We welcome James to the board and look forward to his contributions as we grow the company,” says James Dow, Chairman of the Board at Diversified Plastics, Inc. “His well-rounded background in management, operations, business development and quality makes him ideally suited to help guide the company.”

As a member of DPI’s Board of Directors, Garvin will help represent the company’s shareholders. The board helps establish policies for corporate management and oversight and make decisions on major issues for DPI.

As President of Cass Precision Machining and former COO at Hutchinson Manufacturing, Inc., Garvin brings a long history of industry knowledge to DPI’s board. Garvin will provide thought leadership and add great perspective based on his depth of experience and network of influence. DPI is a full-service parts manufacturer that provides prototyping, manufacturing and assembly, so Garvin is a natural fit for their board of directors.

Before his roles at Cass Precision Machining and Hutchinson Manufacturing, Garvin held several leadership roles at Hutchinson Technology, Inc. Garvin started his career as a supplier and product quality engineer at Unisys, Midwest Operations Group in Roseville, Minn. He received a Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN.