Precision Metal Parts: Procurement Made Easy

The global pandemic created several challenges within the manufacturing sector including supply base shortages, delays in production, and vendor/supplier closings. During times of crises, a simplified supply chain is essential for designing, producing, and delivering critical medical components and precision metal parts to market on time and within budget so those on the frontline can continue to save lives. In a recent Device Talks conversation, Fotofab joined other manufacturers to discuss how collaboration was an important element to get them through the pandemic.

What Was Discussed 

The following points were discussed amongst the panelists: 

  • How a customer centric collaboration approach across the supply chain reduces lead-time and cost during a higly variable demand.
  • How R&D collaborative planning optimizes design for manufacturability and creates cost savings and quick turnarounds.
  • What manufacturing processes provide the tightest tolerances for critical and precision metal medical parts including stamping/forming, electroforming, photochemical machining (PCM), machining, assembly, etc.
  • How vertically integrating manufacturing partners and processes provide a variety of benefits, especially during a time of crisis.

Who Was Talking

Panelists for the DeviceTalks included: 

Anthony Giampapa | Director of Sales | Fotofab

Anthony Giampapa brings close to 10 years of sales experience within the manufacturing industry on a national level. 

As Director of Sales for Fotofab, Giampapa supports strategic sales initiatives that focus on increasing revenue. 

He works closely with customers to build and maintain long-term, trusting relationships with current and potential customers. 

Originally from the Chicago area, he initially studied at Illinois State University as an accounting major then switched gears and went into sales and marketing at Elmhurst College.

Anthony Giampapa
Anthony Guzik

Casey Guzik | Tool & Die Manager | Fotofab

Casey Guzik is the Tool & Die Manager at Fotofab LLC, a leading producer of precision photochemical etched sheet metal components. 

His journey began at a technical school learning the theoretical knowledge of the tool and die trade, while simultaneously serving an apprenticeship to gain hands-on experience. 

Guzik has worked with companies specializing in 4-slide tooling, punch presses, progressive stamping, draw work, and custom tool designing.  

With his earned and accredited leadership, he has started and managed International and U.S.-based facilities, including Fotofab’s Elk Grove Village location. 

Jeff Bell | Managing Partner | Arc Precision

Jeff Bell is the co-author of the McGraw-Hill book, Factory Physics for Managers: How Leaders Improve Performance in a Post-Lean Six Sigma World. He is the managing partner of Arc Precision, an ISO 134845 and FDA-Registered supplier of precision machined components and assemblies to the medical device industry. 

Bell’s deep experience in operations across multiple industries includes his work with Factory Physics Inc., Emerson Electric, and Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals. He teaches as a clinical professor of operations and entrepreneurship at Dominican University. 

He has a B.S. in operations research and industrial engineering from Cornell University as well as an M. Eng. and MBA from Northwestern University (Kellogg School Management).

Jeff Bell
Robert L. Brunson

Robert L. Brunson | VP of Sales and Marketing | Optiforms

Robert L. Brunson is vice president of sales and marketing of Optiforms. Rob is committed to building partnerships with customers requiring precision metal components. 

For over 34 years, Brunson has guided various departments helping develop many Optiforms’ processes and protocols for product development, as well as setting up and managing the safety and compliance department. 

Focused on quality, committed to exceptional customer service, and with a comprehensive understanding of the various processes that are used and/or available to manufacture precision metal components. Brunson offers customers a complete solution to their manufacturing challenges. 

Memorable Quotes

Anthony Giampapa

  • “Our production team was the team that saved the organization throughout the year because they were there every single day producing parts for our customers.” 
  • “When the pandemic hit, no one really knew what was going on with COVID, so there was a necessity for over-communication. We had to be in constant communication not just without team, but also our customers.”
  • “Strategic inventory helps with planning. How do you really plan when the entire environment is thrown up in the air and nobody has any idea what is going on?” 
  • “Our vertical integration with our manufacturing process provides a one-stop shop for our customers — It’s our value-added services and core competencies.” 
  • “What is better for a buyer or engineer going through a crisis such as COVID, than a supplier that can provide better alternative solutions but also take it from that one step and provide a complete turnkey solution with what they can offer. That comes from the collaboration and conversation with our customers.” 
  • “What better way to provide a customer a solution than to work with them and collaborate on that R&D upfront and provide those DFM suggestions and understand the project, but then also have the full capacity and capabilities to scale to production.” 
  • “Being able to develop that trust in the R&D stage but also dovetail that and have it follow you through the life of a program, that’s invaluable to our customers.”                

Jeff Bell

  • “Science of operation across the supply chain, which provides the framework for a lot of companies, focuses on the demand and the variability that surrounds that demand. There are only three buffers to deal with that: Inventory, Time, and Capacity — What happens when you have a huge increase in variability, and you don’t allocate your inventory and capacity effectively? You get an unwanted time buffer.”
  • “How do you communicate with your customers so you can have the right portfolio inventory, capacity, and time to meet rapidly changing and evolving needs? Good strategic choices for inventory and capacity – we worked with our customers to understand where the long-term demand is.” 
  • “We work with our customers to understand where long-term demand is and build inventory so that we have it available when it is needed.”
  • “If you’re communicating with your customers, you are doing two things: First on a long-range basis: You’re allocating enough capacity to meet their needs. Then on a short-range basis: It’s really about sequencing the work to meet the demands as they’re happening and evolving.”
  • “Our customers really view us as an extension of their operation where they can communicate with us and sequence the work to meet their demands as their demand changes.” 
  • “Big strategic advantage for our customers is when they can reduce time-to-market: The faster they can launch products the better and more profitable they are. We work with them in design for manufacturing and in scheduling to help them do that.”
  • “It’s absolutely critical in medical devices that you’re collaborating in R&D both in terms of design and project planning.” 

Robert L. Brunson

  • “Working from home was definitely a challenge for us during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, I was on the shop floor on a regular basis to review projects and jobs. So, it was odd to relearn how to communicate both with our team and customers when we had to switch to remote work — we had to over communicate.”
  • “We were short-handed, and we needed to overcome getting our product out the door with people being out […] so we were checking customer portals on a daily basis to see what their demands looked like, and it helped forecast what was going on in our shop as far as production. It helped us take care of everyone’s needs.” 
  • “Here at Optiforms, we have always taken pride in the way we communicate with our customers, but the pandemic has forced us to adopt a new normal of over communicating with both our customers and employees. We even started talking to our customers on a more personal level which helped all of us get through the situation.”