Pro Tips - Issue #49
Humility in Business
This is a bittersweet newsletter to write as it will be my last. Over the past 17 years my partners and I have grown Pro CNC from a little one-machine shop to one of the largest contract manufacturers in the Pacific NW. We have met and worked with thousands of engineers, buyers, quality staff and others at hundreds of companies. It has been an incredible experience and one that has shaped my entire life, both professionally and personally. Our focus on Design For Manufacturing over the past 5 years has been particularly rewarding. I have gotten to lead over 30 DFM Bootcamps at dozens of companies, helping to help spread the word about the power and importance of DFM in helping our customers reduce cost and lead time. I've gotten to know many of the great people at these companies in much greater depth than a typical vendor/customer relationship and that has been wonderful.
In January of this year we sold Pro CNC to a great company - Trulife, which is doing incredible things with the company we started, funded by a second mortgage right out of college. My partners moved on shortly after the sale and I will be moving on to my next adventure with them starting Monday. It has been a very busy year to say the least, and I am sorry that the ProTips newsletters have been so few and far between in the last year. I felt it was important to say goodbye with a final wrap-up newsletter. Don't fear, the newsletters will continue under the leadership of some great talent we have here at Pro CNC. So please look out for new issues soon with fresh topics and thinking about DFM.
Merriam-Webster defines humility as: "the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people. The quality or state of being humble." In my opinion the companies that embrace DFM the best and have the most success with reducing cost are the companies that are the most humble. I have seen only a handful of them in my years. There is a culture of eagerness to learn and improve that is palpable at these companies. They know that they don't know everything and are open to learning from their suppliers, partners and any source they can learn from. They are the most likely to reach out and ask for input that they can incorporate into their designs. As a result, they have the least amount of issues with manufacturing challenges, NCRs, ECOs, etc. The investment they put in on the front end of developing new product is returned many times over during the life of the product. Sometimes the return is only dozens of times greater, sometimes it is thousands of times greater. In one of my favorite examples we saved over $100,000 with about two hours of work.
So does your company have a culture of humility? A culture of curiosity of where the next great cost saving idea will come from? This extends far beyond just engineering into the entire organization. Or is it a culture where input and feedback isn't wanted or appreciated. We have customers on both ends of the spectrum. I understand very well that sometimes it is difficult or impossible to accept and incorporate DFM feedback once a design is finalized. So on your next project, try on some humility and engage with your suppliers really early on in the development process where the changes are the least expensive and difficult. Develop some metrics to measure how effective the cost savings are for a project where DFM was incorporated. I assure you that virtually any supplier would be thrilled to help engage at that level and be a partner in your success.
Please browse our updated site with all the incredible growth that our company is experiencing with new equipment and services we are expanding into - with over 50 CNC machines now, composites manufacturing and more. We are also getting a name change to Sequoia Engineered Solutions - to better describe the full range of engineered solutions we are providing for customers. And for some of our newest subscribers, this is the first newsletter you have gotten from me. Please browse the years of archives we have on our site for lots of great DFM info. So with that, I will bid you all farewell. If you want to connect with me you can on LinkedIn. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you subscribing and reading our newsletter. Thank You!
Paul Van Metre
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