Drilling Technologies Machine Shop Finds Gold on MFG.com

The Business Challenge

Superior Drilling Products, Inc. (SDP), headquartered in Vernal, Utah, designs, manufactures and repairs drilling tool technologies. SDP operates a state-of-the-art drill tool fabrication facility where it manufactures solutions for the drilling industry as well as custom products. Cameron Dick manages the firm’s machine shop.

In 2014, the oil industry took a downturn, one of the worst since the 1990s. As a result, the need for new equipment – and replacement parts – plummeted. Workload in the machine shop decreased, and Dick needed to find a way to keep the lights on and the machines humming. As he said, “Most of the machine shop workers aren’t from the oil fields; they have backgrounds in aerospace, nuclear and other industries. We had wide-ranging experience and top-of-the-line machinery. I needed to find a way to fill the shop with work.”

The Solution

Years ago, Dick had owned a machine shop in Idaho. He relates, “I was the sales guy, the janitor and the machine operator. I didn’t have the time to knock on doors or make cold calls. I started looking at MFG.com as a source of work. I didn’t follow through with MFG.com then, because another company bought me out. Still, I always remembered what a good resource it was.”

Later, during the “good times” when SDP was launching new product lines and there was a surplus of shop work, Dick turned to MFG.com. He used the online platform to qualify vendors. He would put standard parts up for bid and ask suppliers to offer quotes. Dick shares, “We know how much it costs to make a part and the run time involved. We used this information for our price breakdown. Bidders could be lower or higher, but we wanted to see if they could actually do the work and the quality of that work. That way, in the event a new product line took off, we could utilize our shop for new product development and still maintain our inventory on the current product line.”

Now, in bad times, Dick looked to MFG.com for filler work and income for the SDP shop. He started bidding jobs appearing on MFG.com.

The Results

“When I first started quoting on MFG.com, I did so with the module I had at the time,” Dick says. “It relied on a basic shop rate computed by our accountants. With MFG.com’s ShopIQ tool, I soon saw my bids were high on everything. I went back into my module and sat down with the accountants and did some re-costing and refiguring. The revised rates brought us more awards.”

“We won work from NASA, tooling companies and other firms,” he says. “We made shim packs, regulators, sensor housings, exotic weld fittings, helix fluted tool blanks, motor housings, plate bracket assemblies and cutting machine assemblies — all from materials ranging from standard steel to exotics. I searched for whatever we could build. I made some excellent contacts via MFG.com and benefited from work from repeat customers. They still email me today.”

Luckily for SDP, the oil industry picked up recently, and the machine shop workload is returning to its pre-2014 levels. Dick is grateful, saying, “MFG.com is great and did several things for us. It helped us qualify some excellent suppliers and keep the lights on during a very difficult time. Plus, the process of bidding on work and using ShopIQ helped us gain new perspective on what kind of shop SDP is in comparison to others. We are far more competitive now and continue to use ShopIQ to keep improving our business model.”

He adds, “Today, it is hard for shops that aren’t specialized, especially startups, to find work. MFG.com brings them work opportunities and, because of the technology, you don’t need to be in the buyer’s backyard. MFG.com helps shops that can do the work but don’t have the resources to reach out, and it helps buyers who don’t have a clue on where to go to have some parts made.”

 

"MFG.com helps shops that can do the work but don’t have the resources to reach out, and it helps buyers who don’t have a clue on where to go to have some parts made."

Cameron Dick
Machine Shop Manager,
Superior Drilling Products, Inc.

 

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