2021 The Year Of Change – And What We Expect In 2022

General Die Casters Brian Lennon

2021 provided irrefutable proof to the old saying, “The only constant in life is change.” Few businesses struggled for sales. We all struggled to produce at the levels the market demanded. Businesses were forced to be nimble and flexible while constantly reevaluating their relationships with their employees, customers, and suppliers.

A business that hadn’t already performed a customer analysis was forced to in 2021. If you can’t support all your customers, how do you prioritize? What about Profitability, Values, Relationships, and Growth Potential? This turned out to be a valuable exercise. We have always aligned ourselves with businesses with similar values and strategies. We use strong engineered systems, technology, and customer service to provide complex, high-quality castings with exceptional customer support. We identified our customers with these values as our core customers for the future. And fortunately, this ended up being a large percentage of our customer base.

We then focused our resources on supporting this core group. We worked closer than ever with them to identify their needs and ensure they could meet their operational goals. This often meant juggling our production schedules far more than ordinary. But once we committed ourselves to a customer, we always found a way to succeed.

General Die Casters aluminum die casting

Businesses were forced to reflect on the value of our employees like no other time in modern history. It was as if the Avengers End Game Film played out in real life and half the world’s workforce vanished. Thousands of businesses wrestled to win over the same small group of workers. I was both entertained and disheartened to see new hirings signs posted on the front lawns on my morning commute. Each day the dollar values increased, bonuses were offered, the signs became larger, with flashing lights and even dancing inflatable animals!

General Die Casters University, employee education

At General Die Casters, we strengthened and retained our workforce by increasing wages and bonuses, offering in house education, luncheons, and adding a dedicated HR Recruiter. And most importantly, by standing by our commitment to host a culture of respect. No matter how dearly we needed additional workers, anyone that did not fit our culture was sent on their way. We complemented this strategy by completing 5 automation projects and attacking our casting and CNC cycle times to reduce our labor requirements.

Gemeral Die Casters cobots, CNC automation

I believe the theme of 2022 will be the reckoning of the cost increases of 2021. We are all seeing price increases across the board. Some of this inflation will be transitory, but much of it will be permanent as the effective minimum wage has increased dramatically. How many businesses can remain profitable with these new cost structures? We will soon learn. The only answer to this challenge is productivity. If businesses wish to not only sustain their current sales levels but to grow, they must pursue productivity improvements using technology. We have made huge investments in this area during the last two years and are well-positioned to thrive in this new environment. At General Die Casters, we don’t fear change. We welcome it and we already have big plans to continue productivity improvements in 2022. Happy New Year!

Die Cast Designer's Handbook


About the Author:

Brian Lennon