Why flexibility beats scalability every time

Small steps really can deliver giant leaps – just ask our customers
December 16, 2015
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The most valuable supply chain partners are flexible because: They continue to invest in technology and equipment... they continue to invest in their people – building expertise... and they continue to foster organizational innovation.

We have heard from many customers that business is picking up – rapidly.

The uncertainty in the stock market and the larger economy belies what is happening with our small and mid-sized OEM customers.

Like many partners, ACE METAL CRAFTS COMPANY continuously focuses on how best to meet the changing needs of customers – whether by providing new technology, improved processes, or simply scaling to meet the demand. Scale. Now there’s a perennial topic for manufacturers. The traditional definition of scale emphasizes capacity, technology, and the variety of manufacturing services.

Today the ability to scale is not necessarily most important in fabrication. It’s flexibility.

Sufficient manufacturing size is important, and still dominates the supply chain. At ACE our expansive work areas, technology investments, engineering services, and advanced capabilities help us simultaneously accommodate many diverse projects, and complete them to specification in shorter time. Our sheer size as a manufacturer helps us realize higher equipment utilization and return on capital investment, and optimized resource allocation, which for our customers can mean more cost-effective projects.

The ability to use all these resources and tools flexibly that brings real value to supply chain partners, so much more so than scale.

Technology, optimized processes, and how well your teams work together can make manufacturers like ACE be as flexible as much smaller fabricators.

Flexibility in manufacturing is not possible without a focus on culture. Manufacturers that are flexible build into their daily business life and culture improved information flow, enhanced decision making, and coordination and cooperation between management and shop floor. Flexible manufacturers see labor not as a cost or as a way to complete a function, but as human resources, so there is emphasis on creating a multi-skilled, creative, knowledgeable, trusting and responsible work force.

You might say such a company is in the sweet spot of metal fabrication – having grown in size, capacity, and sophisticated services yet retaining the nimble, innovative characteristics of a niche player.

And that helps ACE grow as customers grow and continue to deliver what brought these customers to us in the first place.