MFG.com Saves Glassware Manufacturer $70,000 on Custom-Made Machine Parts in First 14 Months

THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Anchor Hocking Company, a part of The Oneida Group, is the second largest manufacturer of glassware in the United States. The firm is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and it operates plants in Lancaster, Ohio and Monaca, Pennsylvania.

Like most manufacturers, Anchor Hocking’s machines utilize a variety of custom-made parts that wear out over time. Process engineer Eric Goldman’s job is to keep operations running at the Lancaster plant. He works within the forming group, where the molten glass is turned into a shape. It is up to Eric, as he puts it, “to buy as many spare parts as I can get within my purchasing authority.”

Initially, he used local machine shops for the CNC-machined and fabricated-metal products he needed, calling “four or five random machine shops in the area and spending a lot of time doing it.” Eric had no idea how competitive these quotes were, except in comparison to each other. He suspected that $240 for a three-bolt flange used to attach cooling air ducts to the glass forming machines was high and wanted to find suppliers that could lower the company’s maintenance costs.

THE SOLUTION

Eric remembered a former colleague had mentioned MFG.com, an online manufacturing marketplace that brings buyers and suppliers together. That coworker had put a job out for quote and received numerous bids that were much less expensive than his go-to suppliers. Eric decided to give MFG.com a try.

He registered with MFG.com for free and was assigned a sourcing advisor. The advisor provided Eric technical advice on how to use the MFG.com website and strategic guidance on how to get the most value out of the platform. Eric relates, “He helped me define the quote and lead times to maximize response from the vendor base, showed me how to distribute the quotes and much more.”

Eric adds, “It’s simple to put an RFQ together. You upload it once and you get a number of quotes back. Typically, I receive about 12 bids within the first week. It saves so much time by eliminating the need to contact machine shops individually. Then, I take a look at each bidder’s website and try to get a sense of the business and how long it’s been in operation. MFG.com also posts manufacturer reviews that I’ll read. Then, depending on how critical the part is, I might go with a higher bid to use a supplier that I’ve dealt with before. For low-risk parts, I will go with someone new if it is the best price.”

THE RESULTS

Eric was able to purchase the first custom part he put out for bid – the three-bolt flange – for $40 per piece through an MFG.com supplier located in Ohio. “That’s an 83 percent discount,” he remarks.

Savings like this are typical, according to Eric. He recounts the example of a machined stainless-steel part that he had been purchasing from an OEM as a cast part for $125 apiece. “I purchased 80 of these parts at $17.80 each through an MFG.com supplier, saving $8,500 on a single order.”

Monetary savings are not the only payback from using MFG.com suppliers, says Eric. He relates, “We use a number of jaws to adapt our takeout machines to the specific size of the glass being produced (takeout machines move the glassware from the forming machine onto the conveyor belt). One such takeout jaw was originally designed and built as a two-piece weldment of flat and bent sheet metal. An MFG.com supplier was able to machine it from a solid-steel bar stock at a lower cost, resulting in improved strength and part consistency.”

Eric now considers MFG.com as his go-to site for sourcing custom machine parts. And he’s shared his enthusiasm with coworkers at his Anchor Hocking plant. Two other employees – one in the mold shop and another in automatic handling – are now using MFG.com for their custom parts.

According to Eric, “One just put out his first bid and within the first 24 hours got back a quote for $125 a piece on a part he had been buying for $400 a piece. He’s going to leave it out for a week and see what happens, but he’s already pleased.”

Eric calls MFG.com “the eBay of custom-manufactured parts.” He says, “MFG.com allows me to connect with a highly competent supplier base that I otherwise could not reach.” And, Eric estimates that purchasing custom-made parts via MFG.com saved his department – and the company – over $70,000 in the first 14 months of use.

"MFG.com allows me to connect with a highly competent supplier base that I otherwise could not reach."

Eric Goldman
Process Engineer,
Anchor Hocking Company

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