Manufacturing Archives - Cass Precision Machining
onshore manufacturing. a win-win strategy

The Merits of Onshore Manufacturing: A Win-Win Strategy for Cass Precision Machining

In recent years, the manufacturing landscape has witnessed a remarkable shift, with an increasing number of companies recognizing the benefits of onshore manufacturing. This strategic decision to bring production back to the United States has proven advantageous for both businesses and the local economy. Cass Precision Machining, a renowned leader in U.S.-based precision machining solutions, is no exception. Cass is supporting customers who employ onshore manufacturing, by being competitive, with greater service and high-quality manufacturing – our commitment to excellence.

There are a variety of benefits to onshore manufacturing, many detailed in recent articles by both Industry Today and CBRE, and we’ve drawn insights from both articles and will highlight how these advantages align with the core competencies of Cass.

Moving away from offshore production, manufacturers are recognizing the numerous advantages of bringing their operations back to the United States. This transition has proven to be a strategic move, providing significant benefits for both businesses and the local economy.

Onshore Manufacturing is Strengthening Domestic Supply Chains

The Industry Today article, “Overseas to Onshore: Manufacturers Move Back to the US” emphasizes the importance of domestic supply chains. Offshore manufacturing often comes with logistical challenges and longer lead times due to geographical distances, shipping delays, and potential disruptions. On the other hand, onshore manufacturing allows for streamlined supply chain management and faster response times. At Cass, we recognize the significance of a robust domestic supply chain, one that enables us to meet customer demands promptly and as efficiently as possible.

By having manufacturing operations onshore, companies ensure shorter lead times, reduced transit costs, and improved responsiveness to market fluctuations. These advantages enable companies to maintain a competitive edge and to consistently deliver high-quality products to their customers.

Another significant advantage of onshore manufacturing is the ability to exercise greater control over quality standards. When production is outsourced overseas, companies often face challenges related to communication, cultural differences, and varying regulatory frameworks. By bringing manufacturing operations back to the U.S., Cass and other companies are able to ensure stringent quality control measures are in place throughout the entire production process.

This approach allows Cass to maintain an exceptional level of precision, accuracy, and consistency in our products. Onshore manufacturers can implement robust quality control protocols, resulting in superior product reliability and customer satisfaction.

At Cass, we’re always proud of our commitment to quality & excellence, and onshore manufacturing serves as a cornerstone in upholding our reputation as a provider of high-quality precision machining solutions.

The second article we mentioned, “U.S. Industrial Market Benefits from Rise in Onshore Manufacturing,” emphasizes the improved quality control and intellectual property protection associated with onshore manufacturing. As mentioned, outsourcing production to overseas locations often presents challenges in maintaining quality standards. Furthermore, intellectual property concerns can arise when sharing proprietary designs and processes with offshore manufacturers.

By leveraging onshore manufacturing, companies are able to have complete control over the production process, allowing them to closely monitor and maintain the highest levels of quality. Additionally, companies safeguard valuable intellectual property by avoiding the need to share sensitive information with external entities, thus mitigating potential risks associated with offshore manufacturing.

Increased Agility and Flexibility in Meeting Customer Needs

Another advantage of onshore manufacturing is the ability to swiftly respond to market demands and customer requirements. Offshore production often entails longer lead times due to distance, time zone differences, and logistical challenges. However, by manufacturing onshore, companies are able to significantly reduce lead times, offering faster turnaround times for customers. This enhanced agility enables companies to cater to evolving market needs, adapt to changes in demand, and fulfill time-sensitive orders promptly.

The ability to respond swiftly to evolving customer demands is an advantage that becomes particularly crucial in dynamic industries with rapidly changing market trends. The ability to adapt quickly and deliver customized solutions helps set businesses apart from their competition.

At Cass, we are able to leverage onshore manufacturing to cater to specific needs of our customers. By having a manufacturing facility in the U.S., we can collaborate closely with clients, understand their requirements, and offer tailored solutions efficiently. The proximity to customers not only facilitates effective communication but also enables Cass to provide faster prototyping, rapid design iterations, and quick product launches, which we believe sets us apart as a trusted partner.

Job Creation and Local Economic Impact

Onshore manufacturing presents a unique opportunity to revitalize local economies and create employment opportunities. By choosing to manufacture in the United States, Cass contributes to job creation, supporting the communities where we operate. The local sourcing approach helps stimulate economic growth, reduces unemployment rates, and fosters a sense of stability within the region. Onshore manufacturing provides a positive impact on job growth and the resurgence of manufacturing hubs across the country.

The advantages of onshore manufacturing are undeniable, and at Cass Precision Machining we embrace this strategic shift to help maximize our business potential. As the manufacturing landscape continues to evolve, Cass’s onshore manufacturing approach exemplifies how a domestic focus can result in enhanced efficiency, improved quality control, and customer-centric operations. By choosing Cass, customers can have confidence in the company’s commitment to delivering exceptional products while supporting the growth of the American manufacturing sector.

cass doubles down on manufacturing infrastructure

Cass Doubles Down on Manufacturing Infrastructure

As we move forward through 2023 Cass is embarking on an exciting time in our history.   From our asset acquisition of TCR in 2020 and the purchase of the Micro-Fab division in 2021,
Cass is positioned in 2023 to make even bigger investments in our people, our facilities, and our equipment for the benefit of our customers.

Beginning in the summer of 2022, we started implementing new training programs for every leader and emerging leader within Cass.  These training programs were designed for Cass and facilitated by our partners at MRA.  We have also dramatically increased our involvement with Manufacturers Alliance, ASQ, and MPMA where we aim to serve others while we improve our manufacturing skills.  All of these initiatives will continue through 2023 as we build on this base.

In late 2022, the team at Cass developed plans and presented capital investment proposals to the Cass Board of Directors that improve and expand our business for our customers.  We understand that our customers’ needs evolve and change over time and we want to make sure Cass is evolving and changing with them.

The Cass Leadership Team presented over $3,000,000 in spending proposals on items such as:

  • Upgrades to current machining equipment
  • Automation additions
  • Expansion of automated inspection equipment
  • Replacement of dated machining equipment
  • Capacity additions

In addition, the Leadership Team set aside some proposed investment monies for facility improvements that provide an updated, better work environment for our teammates, including updates to restrooms, lunchrooms, etc.

We are pleased to announce that the first phase of projects has been approved and Cass has already started the process of making facility updates, installing new machining equipment, and building new automation.  Cass is continuing its commitment to investing its money back into the business to better support our customers and improve the overall working environment for our team.

At Cass Precision Machining we consider every member of our staff family and we treat our customers like extended family. Our Leadership Team was thrilled to be able to invest money back into our facilities to make for an improved workplace which leads to better products for our customers.

We look forward to continuing to elevate the machining services we offer our customers by improving capacity and capability while reducing lead time.

Importance of Supplier Managed Inventory

As the business world continues to recalibrate itself in a myriad of ways due to the global pandemic, one factor that became obviously clear in the manufacturing sector is the importance of supplier managed inventory. Supply chain issues arose like never before and forced organizations to assess and improve the resilience of their supply chains without weakening their competitiveness.

The great lesson learned by many organizations was the need to build greater flexibility into their supply chain design process through innovation and implementing new technology. The pandemic accelerated and magnified problems that already existed in the supply chain. The bottom line is that manufacturing firms need to make their supply chains more resilient, collaborative and networked.

Managing inventory at the enterprise level is a continuous battle. Demand projections and fluctuating costs make it a very difficult task, but strategic integrations between vendors and consumers can reduce friction.

An Ernst & Young research study from 2020 found that 60% of executives say the pandemic has increased their supply chain’s strategic importance. Looking forward, multiple disruptions are happening more quickly and factors such geopolitical risks, cyber threats, and economic instability are continuing to put pressure on supply chains. Moving forward, the supply chain will need to be agile, flexible, efficient, resilient, and digitally networked for improved visibility.

Many in the manufacturing industry are hoping that the pandemic was a once in a lifetime occurrence. But as the saying goes, “hope is not a strategy”. At Cass Precision Machining we believe strongly in the benefits of supplier managed inventory. Coming out of the pandemic we are partnering with more and more customers in trying to find ways to mitigate risk.

We would love to have an infinite amount of inventory to always be able to quickly turn orders for all of our customers, but that’s obviously not realistic. In order to better serve customers, many manufacturers now offer different ways to enter into a supplier managed inventory agreement.

There are many benefits to inventory management agreements – lower costs, fewer stockouts, less waste, higher inventory turnover and better forecasting.

  • Reduced Costs – Better inventory management allows you to have less inventory on hand. Less inventory leads to less waste and obsolescence and fewer resources needed to manage that inventory. Being able to place a single PO with your supplier partner allows you to lower your hidden soft costs that can add up in a hurry with multiple orders for a lot of different parts.
  • Improved Workflow and Productivity – Inventory management on its own cannot promise increased productivity for your organization, but the improved workflow should certainly provide a boost. A good relationship with your inventory supply partner will help you assess your current workflow from receiving to routing to replenishment, and find ways to remove steps and save money.
  • Less Resources Dedicated to Inventory – If you have limited storage or staff, letting suppliers handle inventory is one way to avoid spending extra money.
  • Reduced Stockouts or Errors – Stockouts can have a detrimental impact on the reputation of a business. With a supplier agreement, stock levels can automatically be replenished from the supplier ahead of time.
  • Provides Time to Focus on Sales – Instead of dedicating limited resources to inventory management, your team can focus on sales.
  • Smooth Supply Chain – An inventory management agreement with your supplier is a great opportunity for a secure and synergized partnership between the supplier and customers.

At Cass we provide different options for entering into a supplier managed inventory agreement, each of which provides greater flexibility for our partners, the best use of machine time at Cass, and the best cost for our customers.

Supplier Managed Inventory

Partnering with your supplier on a managed inventory process is a great way to stay nimble in your processes in case another supply chain disruption occurs. It can help to reduce process roadblocks and align supplier and customer inventory demands.

Supplier managed inventory helps reduce your safety stock and lower your inventory levels by ensuring you receive your products before you need them, but not too early. With SMI you can better interpret your inventory and how it holds up under customer demand. It can measure how quickly you sell a product and ship out replacements before you run out. If managed correctly, you should always have the necessary inventory to meet demand.

With your supplier controlling the inventory, they are able to achieve significant efficiencies. The ordering process is typically based on more accurate and up-to-date data, which allows for cost savings by reducing the frequency of costly last-minute orders, reducing the number of orders, and reducing returns.

Supplier managed inventory also can help take the supplier’s data analytics to new levels of sophistication that helps its entire operation. The benefits go beyond the warehouse too—a better understanding of actual demand helps sales managers improve performance and develop strong relationships with customers.

An effective supplier managed inventory program develops through cooperation between both sides and to the benefit of both sides. Suppliers who adopt an inventory program find that it enhances their relationships with customers, who gain a significant competitive advantage thanks to superior service and on-time delivery that supplier managed inventory enables.

As suppliers develop a better understanding of customer demand through its SMI process, it becomes a better partner to its customers and is more likely to see increased sales. Greater transparency and communication with the customer allow the supplier to better respond to its customers’ conditions and future plans, ultimately helping customers and suppliers alike grow in more efficient and predictable ways.

For more information on Cass Precision Machining’s supplier managed inventory program, get in touch with us here.

the advantages of using Screw Machines

The Advantages of Using Screw Machines

At Cass Precision Machining we give quite a few tours of our plant to both customers and prospective customers. These tours are something Cass enjoys doing and it’s always fun to see the “WOW” factor when visitors see just how impressive and effective screw machines can be.

Cass believes that offering tours of our six (6) building campus is essential to providing customers and prospective customers with a full understanding of Cass’s capabilities and value while providing an education on our machines.

At Cass, our machines are designed for efficiency and quality control, giving us the unique ability to provide fast turnaround times for larger-volume runs. Cass’s screw machines provide customers looking for larger volume runs very competitive pricing while still performing multiple operations and processes simultaneously. Cass has both multi-spindle machines (processing multiple steel bars into parts at once) as well as single-spindle machines (one bar of steel at a time) to meet the individual customer’s needs. Even though these machines are set up using mechanical methods, the speeds that come from this type of machine is hard to beat. Parts can come off the screw machines at nearly 400 parts per hour — maximizing both efficiency and speed, reducing overhead costs, and maximizing turnaround time.

Screw machines are a great fit for some parts, and it is why Cass has built a broad level of capabilities into its mix, balancing screw machines with Swiss, CNC, mills and lathes.

What are Screw Machines?

Screw machines are highly specialized pieces of machinery used in industrial manufacturing and other applications. They are designed to cut metal into shaped parts, such as screws or bolts, using high-speed rotating spindles and cutting tools. Screw machines can be either manually operated or automated, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles to accommodate different types of materials.

The term “screw machine” can be confusing since a screw machine doesn’t produce most of your common screws.  A screw machine is typically a two-or-more axis lathe through which metal or plastic bar stock is automatically fed using gears to drive spindle speed and RPM, while cams control the feed rate of individual tools which cut down the metal to precise dimensions and tolerances.  Multi spindle refers to tools that are overlapping with one another simultaneously, therefore reducing the cycle time and overall time it takes to make parts.

Their versatility makes them ideal for use in several applications across many different industries. What’s more, their competitive running costs make them a cost-effective solution for many parts such as bushings, spacers, pins, bolts, and more.

Due to the nature of their design, screw machines can produce more parts per hour than most other modern CNC machining processes. This allows for higher efficiency and lower production costs compared to traditional manual machine tools. The accuracy and speed with which screw machines perform operations also make them ideal for mass production jobs that require precise results within short timeframes.

For these reasons, screw machines are often an ideal choice for those in need of reliable machining solutions. Screw machines offer a convenient and economical way to produce precision parts quickly and accurately. What’s more, with the wide range of sizes available, they can easily accommodate virtually any project or application.
At Cass Precision Machining, we’re proud of the work our screw machines, many which have been around since the 1960’s. They are bigger machines that can perform six operations in one and run at higher speeds, while being less costly to operate.

No matter what type of manufacturing project you have in mind, screw machines can be an invaluable tool for getting the job done quickly and accurately. By taking advantage of their many benefits, companies can ensure a smooth and efficient production process that will help them stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, with their relatively low running costs, screw machines are an economical solution for any business looking to maximize its productivity.

Cass Operates 60 Screw Machines

At Cass Precision Machining, we utilize 60 automatic screw machines. Screw machines have evolved from their origins in Switzerland to excel at machining round, square, or hex bar stock in high volumes at world-class output rates. Our screw machine shop can process a wide variety of materials, including cold-rolled carbon steels, alloys, aluminum, brass, bronze, some series of stainless steels, tubing, and selected plastics. Screw machines can fully produce a wide range of custom build-to-print parts, including bolts, spacers, pins, bushing, nuts, fasteners, and many more with features ranging from simple to complex. Every day, our screw machining teams produce and ship thousands of parts.

Two of our six buildings at Cass Precision Machining house screw machine shops, including 43 New Britain automatic, multi-spindle screw machines, all equipped with bar feeders. The multi-spindle feature on these machines supports high volume parts production and provide high part-per-hour output rates. The result is high-quality screw machine parts at globally competitive price points. Typical production releases start at 4000 pieces with production orders ranging as high as hundreds of thousands of parts. These multi-spindle screw machines can handle bar stock material ranging from .187 inch (4.765 mm) up to 3.5 inch (88.9 mm) diameters. From a part geometry perspective, the overall length of parts starts at .030 inches (.762mm) and run up to 4.0 inches (101.6 mm). Although material selection will impact the tolerances that we can hold on this equipment, standard tolerances for these machines is +/- .005 inches (.127 mm). Depending on the material selected, +/- .002 inches (.050 mm) can be achieved.

Cass also operates 17 single-spindle Brown & Sharpe automatic screw machines. These machines feed single bars at a time, and while fully able to run similar parts to our multi-spindle equipment, they are geared for lower-volume orders and faster changeovers. Most of the screw machines in this area are equipped with Servo-Cam technology, which facilitates the automation of certain aspects of set-up and changeover work. This equipment can handle the full range of materials noted above and is our preferred processing area for tubing. Bar diameters range from .125 inches (3.175 mm) up to 2 inches (50.8 mm). When end work on one or both ends is exclusively required, Cass can provide part lengths as high as six feet. Standard tolerances on these machines are +/- .005 inches (.127 mm); however, depending on the material selected, +/- .002 inches (.050 mm) can be achieved.

Why are Screw Machines Less Costly to Operate?

Screw machines are an economical alternative to traditional production methods and can allow companies to produce parts more cost-effectively. Screw machines use automated systems to reduce labor costs, increase throughput speed, and improve quality control. As a result, they are often able to lower the total cost of production while providing higher output over manual operations.

In addition, a single screw machine can produce a wide range of products in multiple sizes, shapes, and configurations. This reduces the need for additional machines to produce different parts and keeps costs down. Furthermore, the use of interchangeable components within screw machines can minimize the cost of tooling by making it easier to switch between operations quickly and with minimal effort.

It is also important to note that screw machines are usually more reliable than other production methods due to their robust construction which allows them to better withstand any wear on production parts or tools. This makes unscheduled downtime less likely, resulting in fewer delays and shutdowns during operation — ultimately keeping operational costs low.

What Do Screw Machines Produce? (Bushings, Pins, and Spacers)

Screw machines are essential for many manufacturing and industrial operations. Screw machines are very effective at producing bushings, pins, and spacers. Of these components, bushings are the most produced by a screw machine.

Bushings are mechanical components shaped like hollow tubes or cylinders that can be made out of a variety of materials, including metals, plastics and composites. They are typically used to absorb shock and reduce friction between two objects that move relative to each other. Bushings can also be used to connect two pieces together where one piece moves within another piece or when there is a need for vibration damping.

Pins are cylindrical fastening devices used in multiple applications including joining two components together by sliding the pin through both components. Pins are made from a variety of materials and come in many sizes and shapes so they can be used in almost any application.

Spacers, on the other hand, are used to fill gaps between two parts or surfaces. They can also provide extra strength when connecting two pieces of machinery. Spacers are commonly made out of metal or plastic and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes depending on their purpose.

No matter what type of parts you need, screw machines are an excellent option for producing bushings, pins, and spacers at scale. They offer a reliable production process that helps companies stay competitive in their industry while ensuring they produce high-quality products every time. Whether you’re looking to produce large or small volumes of components, screw machines are sure to provide an efficient solution.

What Materials Can a Screw Machine Process?

A screw machine is a type of automated lathe used to cut and form parts from stock material. It is used in many industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical device manufacturing, and electronics. The screw machine can be used to process various types of materials such as brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon steel. Each type of material requires special processing techniques for optimal results.

When working with brass on a screw machine, the most common methods are knurling or threading. Knurling involves creating grooves in the surface of the metal which increases the grip and friction between two objects when they come into contact with each other. Threading involves cutting threads onto the surface of the workpiece to create internal or external threads.

The screw machine is also capable of working with aluminum, which can be formed using several methods including tumbling and grinding. Tumbling involves placing the workpiece into a drum containing an abrasive material to produce a smooth finish. Grinding can be used to shape the surface of the metal by using high-speed rotating wheels or belts that are covered with a special abrasive material.

Stainless steel can also be processed on a screw machine, primarily through turning operations. This method involves cutting away excess material from the workpiece while keeping its diameter constant. It is important to note that stainless steel has a higher hardness than other metals and requires more specialist cutting tools in order to achieve good results.

Finally, carbon steel is another material that can be processed on a screw machine. This metal can be machined using turning operations, grinding techniques, and drilling processes. It is important to note that carbon steel is prone to rusting so it must always be treated with some form of corrosion-resistant treatment before being used in any application.

In conclusion, a screw machine can process many different types of materials including brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon steel. Each type of material requires its own unique set of processing techniques in order to achieve optimal results. By understanding the capabilities of a screw machine and the various methods for working with each type of material, Cass Precision Machining is able to produce high-quality parts quickly and efficiently.

Cass Precision Machining – Quality Craftmanship

At Cass Precision Machining, we pride ourselves on our commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Our tours are designed to show customers firsthand just how dedicated we are to producing top-notch components at competitive prices. We invite you to come take a tour of our facility any time; we’re sure you will be impressed by what you see!

manufacturing adjusting to post covid reality

Manufacturing Adjusting to Post COVID Reality

While no one in manufacturing would say that workflows have “returned to normal” in the post-COVID world, many agree that a “new normal” has taken hold heading toward the end of 2022. At Cass Precision Machining we’ve settled into our new normal as far as our workflow and our customers go. Several changes have emerged post pandemic across manufacturing as the fog has lifted and the new normal takes hold. Here are some of the changes we are seeing at Cass.

Customers are very focused on managing performance of their partners by providing key metrics on scorecards.

At Cass we receive metrics on a monthly basis with two main categories – OTD (on-time delivery) and PPM (parts per million). Essentially, these metrics track quality measurements and delivery time over periods of time to highlight trends. These metrics are very important to Cass. Even though we have our own internal metrics on quality and delivery it is very important to align with our customers to ensure accuracy and highlight opportunities. Partnering on metrics helps both Cass and its customers find success.

Manufacturing Scorecards

Today, businesses measure their success based on several key performance indicators (KPIs). A scorecard is an enterprise tool for the evaluation and communication of strategic objectives and these KPIs. The Manufacturing Scorecard implements the SCOR (Supply Chain Operations Reference) model within the Scorecard framework, and enables you to effectively monitor, analyze, and respond to those measures that characterize your manufacturing supply chain performance.

Manufacturing Scorecard enables the alignment of day-to-day management decisions with the overall corporate strategy by combining best practice key performance indicators to monitor and respond to performance changes in real time. The manufacturing Scorecard comprises the following metrics – measures defined by SCOR, supplier metrics, and customer metrics.

During the pandemic many manufacturing businesses struggled to keep up with demand. This led to some suppliers being unable to meet deadlines, which can have a serious impact on production schedules. To help manage this problem, some companies are using scorecards to track supplier performance.

Scorecards can be used to track a variety of supplier performance metrics, but on-time delivery is one of the most important for manufacturers. This metric lets companies know if their suppliers are meeting deadlines and helps them identify any potential problems.

There are a few different ways to score on-time delivery. One common method is to give each supplier a score based on the percentage of orders that they deliver on time. Another option is to give suppliers a point for each order that they deliver on time and deduct points for each order that is late.

As the world enters a new era of global trade, post-COVID, manufacturers are looking for ways to secure their supply chains and ensure they are getting the best quality products possible. One way to do this is by score carding suppliers on their parts per million (PPM).

What is PPM?

Parts per million (PPM) is a unit of measurement that indicates how many defects there are in a given product or manufacturing process. It is typically used to compare the relative quality of different suppliers or vendors.

PPM is important because it can help identify potential problem areas in the manufacturing process and help improve quality control. Additionally, score carding suppliers on their PPM can help encourage them to continually improve their quality.

There are several benefits to providing metrics to suppliers on their PPM, including:

  • improved quality control
  • identification of potential problem areas
  • encouragement of supplier quality improvement
  • increased transparency in the supply chain
  • ability to compare different suppliers’ relative quality levels

Manufacturing scorecarding suppliers post COVID on parts per million is a great way to improve your manufacturing process and ensure you are getting the best quality products possible. Do not hesitate to implement this quality control measure in your own business.

Customers are looking at which vendors helped them with their manufacturing needs during COVID and are determining who they want to support in the future. While “normal” workflow has returned, you can be sure that companies have set mechanisms for future pandemic type situations. The last two years illustrated just how much disruption can happen to primary businesses, with the brunt of the impact felt by supply chain and logistics.

Supply Chain Disruption

The pandemic has also had a significant impact on manufacturing supply chains. In many cases, factories have had to find new suppliers or source materials from different parts of the world to keep production going. This has often meant making significant changes to the way that factories operate.

Anyone in manufacturing was forced to learn to have patience with the ongoing fluctuations in supply and demand. Companies learned how important it was to be agile in terms of production needs. Many businesses have adjusted by building a better onshore supply chain. Local sources are being added to the supply chain to supplement offshore production as a type of insurance policy against unexpected supply chain disruptions. The last two years have illustrated how much sense it makes to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on manufacturing supply chains. In many cases, factories have had to find new suppliers or source materials from different parts of the world in order to keep production going. This has often meant making significant changes to the way that factories operate.

While Cass has gotten back to business development, we are more aware than ever of the importance of employee safety and employee health. Many of our pandemic protocols are still in place, we keep our machines and equipment as clean as possible and hand-washing protocols remain.

The changing trade landscape necessitates a change in the approach to manufacturing in the future. Automation, skilled labor, local US manufacturing facilities, and a robust supply chain will form the bedrock for the future of manufacturing in the post-pandemic world.


Avoid Downtime on Your Production Line with Quality Parts

The hallmark of any machine shop is the quality of the parts they produce. While quality is supposed to be a given, the pandemic led to plant shutdowns and slowdowns, including difficulties for manufacturing shops to attract new employees even with competitive pay and benefits. COVID-19 brought on other challenges, including workforce vaccination, travel restrictions, social distancing needs, and rapid shifts in the market for certain goods because of the pandemic, which has strained the demand for the materials and components needed for those in-demand goods.

At Cass, we’ve developed a baseline quality assurance system that guarantees we will ship high-quality parts on every order. Everything we make passes several in-process checks and a final inspection or won’t go out the door. When your requirements dictate, we can customize our baseline system to your specifications, tailoring our quality assurance system to fit your business needs. We have 75 years of experience with quality assurance tools—SBP, PPAP Cpk, 1st Articles, and more—to help you get exactly the results you require in your precision machined parts.

Cass strategically invests in automated quality control and inspection equipment and strictly maintain and calibrate to NIST traceable standards all of our inspection equipment.

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) helps streamline the manufacturing process through production planning, scheduling, and inventory control. MRP systems allow manufacturers to plan and calculate material requirements, coordinate personnel and machine workloads, and optimally plan purchasing to meet customer demands. In short, MRP helps to determine what is needed, how much is needed and when it is needed.

At Cass we utilize MRP by taking inputs of material costs, material availability, expected demand, forecasting demand, staffing ability, and machinery capacity–all to ensure we can satisfy customers as well as our own production goals.

The main steps in the MRP process include a master production schedule that must account for resource, staffing, and inventory needs, purchasing planning, demand forecasting (a product’s lead time can be shortened and production downtime can be avoided), a bill of materials (includes raw materials, parts, and sub-assemblies needed to manufacture a part).

At Cass we rely on honest conversations with our customers concerning everything from raw material availability, production planning, and JIT order releases to resolve shortages. We use MRP via a clear and understood bill of materials process that helps eliminate waste in materials and to better coordinate machine usage and labor.

Customer satisfaction is always our number one goal – which is usually tied to product quality and on-time delivery. Quality is defined as providing parts that are free from defects, deficiencies, and significant variations. At Cass we excel at high-volume production – producing large numbers of an identical part or product in one run. The cost of poor quality parts can be severely damaging, from product recalls and defects to loss of customer loyalty and damage to brand reputation.


Manufacturing Looks Brighter in 2022, But Challenges Persist

Manufacturing Looks Brighter in 2022 But Challenges Persist. Volatile market conditions have created significant challenges for the manufacturing industry since the pandemic began. Manufacturers have been forced to reexamine nearly every step of their process and look for ways to improve efficiency with their data, resources, and workforce.

The last two years brought some unique challenges to manufacturers including rising costs, supply chain issues, and material shortages. Most manufacturers have been forced to implement changes in order to meet these challenges, including acquiring new talent, adding capabilities, and diversifying product portfolios to act as a foundation for growth.

Since the pandemic began, manufacturers have had to deal with the very real challenge of a lack of resources – both supplies and actual workforce. Cass Precision Machining has worked to remain agile and has taken action to be resilient in the short term to set up future success. Future success in manufacturing depends on deriving actionable insights from the last two years to improve decision making and to drive value.

Here is how Cass has responded to some of the questions brought on by the two-year pandemic.

What have been the biggest changes at Cass over the last year and a half, due to the pandemic and all of its ramifications?

Cass has always been known for its outstanding customer service.  For more than 75 years, serving our customers has been the fuel driving our company.  In the past 18 months, our customers have asked us to do even more on their behalf.  We have redoubled our efforts aimed at taking the best care possible of our entire customer base.  This has caused us to rethink old standards in how we do business.  We’ve implemented new tracking tools, become better at smaller lot sizes, and have enhanced how we work with our outside processing partners—all in the name of taking even better care of our customers.

As the country recovers from COVID-19, what new things will Cass implement to better support customers?

We are improving our internal systems to ensure responsiveness and drive the best possible value for our customers.  We are focused on reducing lead time, improving our quality management and execution systems, and ensuring we have the best-trained workforce in the industry.

There is a lot of talk of manufacturers needing to diversify their supply chain. What does that entail for Cass Precision Machining?

Cass’s broad range of capabilities and experience uniquely enables us to provide services nobody else can.  We can offer a variety of manufacturing solutions aimed at helping our customers reduce risk within their supply chains.  We can accommodate service or preproduction parts and can scale up volume better than anyone to provide the best total cost of ownership for our customers.  In terms of our own suppliers, we have expanded our supplier base and developed new partnerships aimed at reducing risk and opening more channels.

What changes have been implemented to ease disruptions to the supply chain? 

Cass has been working hard to procure material in advance of customer needs, enhance partnerships with leading suppliers, and partner with customers in long term agreements to ensure reliable supply.

Is localizing the supply chain a legitimate pursuit?

A localized supply chain has always been a good idea—there’s no better way to ensure timely delivery at the highest quality than dealing with local partners who truly care about your business.  The need for localization has only been emphasized in the past two years due to world events.

Is Cass continuing to digitize its supply chain? Will that make a big difference when further disruptions arise? 

Cass has fully implemented its ERP solution and is now looking forward to working with suppliers to fully integrate them into the system.  We will always strive for the human touch and meaningful relationships, and we believe a digital future supporting those values is key to success.

How long will it take for the supply chain to return to “normal”? Or will it ever?

We anticipate that shipping delays and supply shortages will begin to ease in late 2022 and into 2023, but underlying impacts mean the future will not look much like the past.  There will be more emphasis on transparency in the supply chain, reliable local supply, and long-term partnerships that will benefit everyone involved.

What’s next for Cass Precision Machining in 2022?

As we continue to grow and serve our customers better, we believe that we are in a unique position to attract more top-level talent.  We will also continue to make significant investment in automation and training to enable even more consistency and reliability.

The realities of the pandemic combined with existing trends in the manufacturing landscape means that companies must be more efficient and nimbler than ever in addressing the skills gap and labor shortages. With demand for manufactured goods always on the uptick, Cass continues a top-to-bottom evaluation of all processes, identifying ways to increase efficiency and to continue to support our customer base in any way we can.

global supply chain issues

Supply Crunch Continues to Push Prices Suppliers are Charging Businesses

As we wrote last year, the global supply chain crunch will continue to impact pricing, lead times and deliverables well into 2022 and beyond. Prices paid to U.S. producers posted a record annual increase of almost 10% in November, a surge that will sustain a pipeline of inflationary pressures well into 2022.

The producer price index for final demand increased 9.6% from a year earlier and 0.8% from the prior month, Labor Department data showed in December. Both advances topped economists’ forecasts.

Materials costs have risen rapidly this year amid transportation bottlenecks, robust demand, and labor constraints. Many businesses have successfully passed those added costs on to customers through higher prices, and the latest report suggests additional consumer price increases in the coming months.

Manufacturing companies have all had to adjust to the realities brought on by the global supply crunch, and here at Cass Precision Machining we are collaborating with our partners as much as possible, doing the best we can to alleviate costs and concerns for our customers. This partner collaboration includes daily logistics, tracking materials via spreadsheets, and shuffling and prioritizing schedules etc. and communicating as often as possible with our customers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the higher-than-expected producer-price numbers suggest that consumer inflation, which hit a nearly four-decade high of 6.8% in November, will stay elevated into 2022 as price pressures persist. The index, which generally reflects supply conditions in the economy, rose 0.8% from October, an acceleration from the 0.6% gain in each of the previous three months. Higher prices for energy, wholesale food, and transportation and warehousing contributed to the pickup in inflation.

“This is a testament to the fact that inflation continues to broaden out,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, in the WSJ article.

Persistently high prices in large part reflected clogged supply chains, as manufacturers scrambled to keep up with unusually strong consumer demand. The rise in prices of goods continued to outpace that for services, as consumer spending on goods remains elevated, while that on services is up just slightly from pre-pandemic levels.

Prices for good, excluding food and energy, climbed 0.8% in November from October, faster than the 0.6% increase the previous month. The service index advanced 0.7% on the month, up from 0.2% in October, driven in part by a pickup in hotel room rates and airfares.

According to Reuters, trillions of dollars in COVID-19 pandemic relief from governments across the globe fueled demand for goods, leaving supply chains overstretched. The normalization of economic activity has also juiced demand for services, with the delivery of some being hampered by worker shortages, driving up prices.

The easing of inflation for goods used to make other products, though still high, signaled that producer-price inflation is nearing its peak, said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC, in the Wall Street Journal. “PPI inflation will slow in 2022 as prices for energy and other raw materials decline thanks to greater production, weaker demand, and a gradual waning in supply chain problems,” said Faucher. “But PPI inflation will remain above its long-run levels due to continued strong demand for some goods and services and higher wages.”

At Cass Precision Machining we continue to partner closely with our customers to manage the challenges around material availability, material price, delivery needs and shipping.  We are committed to developing creative solutions to optimize customer success.

cass fitness

Cass Can Produce Parts for Exercise Equipment

The Cass Precision Machining website contains a page entitled “Industries Served.”  On the page, we talk about our continued investment in new technology that leads to the best products at the greatest value.  Our history dates all the way back to 1945, and over the years, we’ve worked hard to build a reputation as a parts manufacturer with experience, dedication, and passion for getting our customers the highest quality parts at the best price.  Those attributes combined with our proven speed and accuracy in delivery, as well as why we’ve developed a client base that spans various industries, including agriculture, construction, recreational equipment, and exercise equipment, among many others.

With a list of over 20 industries served, Cass is very proud of our ability to perform and work with such a wide variety of industries and sectors that give us such a great roster of clients served over the years.

—Sean Sorteberg, Lead Commodity Manager, Arctic Cat

“At Arctic Cat, we refer to Cass as our ‘rock-star’ supplier. We’ve worked with them for over 20 years, and they’re always really fast and helpful with great quality. I love their shop, it’s immaculate, and they have the benefit of actual machinists on staff, emphasizing the quality of product they deliver. If we are ever in a pinch, our first call is to Cass, and they came through for us like they always do. Our rolling 12-month PPM is eight—just outstanding. Cass is always on the ball and ahead of the curve.”


It’s in that vein that Cass is looking to expand our work in producing parts for exercise equipment.

At Cass, we made a concerted effort in 2020 to increase our ability to produce prototype parts. The result is our Cass-Rapid Proto Machining business unit that significantly ramps up our ability to serve customers. With prototypes as well as build-to-print contract machined parts services with accelerated delivery responsiveness. This unit sets us up well to be an ideal partner to produce parts for exercise equipment.

Cass works with fitness equipment manufacturers to produce precision-designed, durable metal assemblies, weldments, and metal stampings. Additionally, Cass produces other exercise equipment parts and components needed to make parts for exercise equipment.

As a manufacturer of parts for exercise equipment, Cass is able to manufacture bearings, bushings, and most all needed assemblies on exercise equipment.  From strength and weightlifting machines, as well as cardio equipment and more.

Cass Precision Machining serves our customers from a five-building campus—including over 125,000 square feet of production space. We’re experts in Swiss Machining, CNC Machining, Screw Machining, and Finish Grinding.  In addition we’ve worked with many materials over the years, including steel, aluminum, brass, bronze, tubing, and a wide variety of machinable plastics.  Our production floor contains advanced metal stamping, fabrication, weldment, and metal assembly to help manufacturing partners improve their quality and reduce lead times.

Reach out to Cass Precision Machining if you are looking for a reliable partner in producing parts for exercise equipment.