How oem needs are changing

How OEM needs are changing (and Sanborn is evolving to meet them)

A tsunami of change is rocking original equipment manufacturers – from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain disruptions to worker shortages and the relentless advance of technology.

How is Sanborn helping its OEM customers to cope with these developments? Here’s a closer look.

Outsourcing assembly fabrication

In the past, OEMs made many of the assemblies that went into their finished products in-house. But continuing advances in manufacturing and fabrication techniques have made it harder for them to keep investing in new equipment and technology. It has now become more economical to outsource many fabrication tasks.

“Today, our OEM customers rely on our tubing and extrusion expertise to help them develop the most streamlined and cost-effective ways to fabricate parts and assemblies,” explains Sanborn president John Topetzes. “We have the flexibility to add capacity, facilities, equipment and people in ways that they can’t.”

In some cases, OEMs don’t have the factory floor capacity or the ability to hire enough workers to do everything internally, he adds.

Stocking programs

OEMs are increasingly relying on their fabrication partners to inventory raw materials and fabricated assemblies for them, which are then delivered to the factory on a just-in-time basis. This approach provides busy OEMs with four major advantages:

  • It enables them to order larger quantities of parts from the fabricator to take advantage of economies of scale. They can be stored off-site until they’re needed.
  • It helps OEMs to preserve cash flow. They can focus more on investing in their people, processes and equipment, and less on stockpiling large quantities of raw materials and finished parts.
  • It can reduce lead time. Sometimes, producing mills may run low on certain raw materials. Having your fabricator produce and stockpile finished parts and assemblies enables OEMs to minimize supply chain disruptions and get products to their customers faster.
  • It helps OEMs do a better job of accommodating spikes in production. When a deluge of orders comes in, the factory may not have the capacity or the personnel to meet this increased demand. Outside vendors can help them to respond to these needs.

Increasingly, OEMs are seeking a reduced number of “one-stop shops” that can meet more of their needs. That’s why Sanborn has added laser tube cutting, automated cutting and sawing equipment and flow drilling capabilities. Soon, we will also add tube bending, machining and welding to our internal capabilities (they are now handled by outside partners).

Tubing expertise

Twenty years ago, Sanborn worked with OEM procurement and engineering professionals who had been in their roles for many years. They were very knowledgeable about materials, fabrication and finishing methods.

Much of that expertise left when they retired. Today, these roles are filled by younger people who don’t have as much tacit knowledge as their predecessors. As a result, OEMs must rely on outside fabricators like Sanborn to help them optimize their designs and select the most economical materials and methods to produce their components.

“We’ve positioned ourselves to be your best source for tubing and extrusion expertise, from design to production,” Topetzes emphasizes. “Unlike many metal suppliers, which offer a broad catalog of materials but little technical knowledge about any of them, we go very deep in tubing and extrusion. We can help you achieve the most cost-effective combinations of materials, processing and finishing.”

We’re here for you

Contact us today to discuss your tube fabrication and finishing needs.


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