Any company worth its salt takes time to identify its core values and culture. Taking it a step further, we put our heads together to get at the heart of what separates Toolcraft Machining from our competitors. This exercise had us looking at every aspect of our business and thinking about what makes us unique in the business landscape. One element kept rising to the surface: We figure it out.
Problem Solving in Three Areas
It’s something we hear from our customers a lot. We take problems that other companies don’t want to deal with or we take a complex challenge a customer is facing and solve the problem for them. This niche we’ve carved out typically surfaces in three major categories.
- Figuring out a complex scope of work from a customer. For example, if the scope of work calls for a unique outsourced service, exotic material, unusual sub assembly or just has multi-layered complexity requiring outside input—WE FIGURE IT OUT.
It’s one way our customers know we are more than just a machine shop. We have a supply chain with a vast array of materials and services that enable us to solve a complex scope of work beyond our machining core competency.
- Untangling the process needed to machine a part. This often happens at the first step of quoting the work. Let’s say there are multiple process steps on a complex part that crosses several differing work centers, each with multi-step operations—WE FIGURE IT OUT.
Fortunately, we have the full gamut of machining equipment, which means we can make just about anything our customers put in front of us.
- Solving unexpected issues in real-time during the machining of a part. When a project hits the floor and becomes a live machining activity, things can go awry. If the material behaves oddly or the part turns out to be dimensionally more challenging than expected—WE FIGURE IT OUT.
Our team has fully adopted the mentality of problem-solving, so this is where we really shine. A key aspect of working through unexpected issues is our ongoing and collaborative communication with our customers. We keep them in the loop as we work to resolve issues.
A perfect example of how our “figure it out” approach unfolds involves a part that our customer, MetalTek needed to produce for a private space company. Their core competency is foundry work, but will machine parts as an added value. In this instance, machining the part internally for them was not the right fit.
MetalTek came to us to help figure it out. Together with their client, we formed a cross-functional team to work through issues with how the material was behaving, suggest tweaks and tested our approach through our R&D process.
We were able to achieve the needed dimensional capabilities, along with some additional improvements. As a valued and trusted partner with MetalTek, we reported back to their client. It’s gratifying to know that because we prioritize working as an extension of MetalTek’s team, they were comfortable enough to allow us to communicate directly with their client. It’s the payoff of proving our loyalty and expending the effort of solving a problem for them.
This example was a true “we figure it out” situation. Many of our competitors can’t tackle something of this nature or don’t want that kind of headache. But philosophically, that’s exactly what we want. It helps cement our customers’ faith in our abilities and keeps them turning to use when they hit a technical impasse or other challenge.
Beyond the Big Three
Our niche of figuring it out permeates our work ethic beyond what’s described in the three major categories above. It is simply how we work. Some examples:
Inspection: often a part can be machined, but then challenges arise in how to validate it due to complex geometry or features of the shape. We tend to excel at figuring out this type of problem.
Delivery: hitting delivery targets is key for our customers. We’ll often problem-solve to reduce production time or even add 2nd shift capacity to meet the delivery schedule.
Sourcing: if a part requires unique additional operations, we’ll tap into our network of vetted partners to provide services needed by the scope of the project that we may not have in our facility. Any provider we use is ITAR-registered, ensuring top quality.
Prototypes: breaking new ground means qualifying the process, materials and services involved, which means the full scope is being validated. That’s a lot of “figure it out” moments! It’s satisfying to establish a relationship with a customer at the beginning of a project and often means we are with them long-term.
As always, it comes back to the team we have at Toolcraft who approaches every task with the “figure it out” mindset. If you are looking for a partner who tackles every challenge with a problem-solving approach, get in touch today!
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