2022 Metal Fabrication Outlook

As 2021 wrapped up there were many opportunities, challenges, highs and lows all impacted by the new economic landscape we work in. Has your metal fabrication business thrived during this time? Many haven’t and one of the biggest failures is the lack of planning for potential changes to the industry whether that is rising steel prices, technology advancement, changes to the sales process and more. 

Steel Prices in 2022

Do steel prices impact your revenue and profitability? If you are like most metal fabricators, the answer is absolutely. In order to plan for 2022, one of the most important things to plan for and pay attention to is the price of steel both domestic and imported. This topic is constantly making headlines and changing just like the weather. 

You should keep an eye on domestic prices of steel, the construction of mega-facilities for manufacturing steel and the steel tariff situation from foreign countries. The combination of these things will have a major impact on the metal fabrication industry as well as the manufacturing industry as a whole. The impact to you and your business could be high steel prices, delays in steel delivery and limited supply which in turn could all impact your bottom line. 

A few resources you should watch are the Steel Market Update and MEPS International. These are great resources providing a variety of perspectives and updates. 

Technology Improvements to Machinery

Does your production team look for ways to keep more money in your pocket by reducing scrap, improving processes or other approaches? If not, this is a great place for you to focus on in 2022. There are a variety of options out there for you to leverage advancements to save money. Whether you are looking for new ironworker machines to expand your production or to reduce the downtime your older machines are causing, start researching today. 

Some of the top brands like Scotchman and Peddinghaus have made advancements with their manufacturing machines that can save time, increase productivity, eliminate waste and other custom needs your metal fabrication business might have. 

Process Improvements to Manufacturing Operations

If you are looking to make process improvements or get a better handle on your quality management, you might consider looking into ISO 9001 certification. The ISO 9001 certification not only created significant improvements for the American Punch team but also helped build a culture of accountability in our manufacturing. A direct byproduct of this was a significant improvement in our customer satisfaction & loyalty. 

We also recognized several other internal benefits such as growth in employee performance and productivity, improved efficiency, and reduction of waste in both raw material and consumables needed to produce our products. We put together a blog recently touching on ISO 9001 from what it is, what it can mean for your business as well as how ISO 9001 certification improved our manufacturing business.

Sales Approach

Has your business had to evolve over the past two years to accommodate the new sales landscape? If you are like most businesses, the answer is yes. That could have been moving to online sales or communicating with clients via phone and email when you normally would have made that face-to-face visit. Technology has given us the opportunity for sales approaches to evolve whether that has meant adding Zoom as a way to keep those connections with clients or even to have that meeting you would have jumped in the car to have. 

The sales approach has changed and we don’t foresee it changing back any time soon. Now is a great time to reflect on what changes have really helped your business as well as what might be on the horizon. The past two years have shown us that even the most tried and true business methods can change in the blink of an eye. This time has also shown companies that preparation for change can be key to your future successes.

Prepared to Keep Machines Up and Running

If one of your ironworker machines goes down does your business lose money? If your answer is yes, then the next question is are you prepared to get it back up and running that same day? You should be and that takes planning. In order to keep those machines running maintenance is key. A big part of proper maintenance is having replacement parts on hand such as punches, dies, shear blades and more. Another aspect of proper maintenance is knowing how long those parts should last. If you aren’t tracking that information, you could find yourself with a metal fab machine down and your team waiting a day or two for replacement parts to come in. 

Having replacement parts on hand or at least knowing when you might need to order them is key to keeping manufacturing equipment running and the profit from each job in your pocket. This is one thing that our team has recognized over the years and one of the biggest reasons we have such a robust offering of stock punches, dies, shear blades and more. We know that how quickly you can ship out replacement parts has a direct impact on your business, which is why our stock and standard parts ship that same day you place your order. You can’t afford to lose money because your machine is down and we know how important that is to each and every one of our partners.

As we wrap up this look into 2022, how will your business prepare for this year and what are your next steps to be as profitable and successful as you can be this year? Whether you are looking for a replacement part, have questions about how to get the ball rolling with your ISO 9001 certification or anything in-between, our team is here to partner with you to help drive success for your business.