Leading by example

FFJ 0317 face squareFace Time - Meeting expectations when installing a press and setting up a line.

Meeting expectations when installing a press and setting up a line

March 2020 - Many proven efficiencies in manufacturing have come from leaders in the metal stamping industry. They have a keen skill set in areas such as pricing, project management, quality and performance of their vendor base, notes Tom Lytle, vice president of Delta Industrial.

Q: Describe Delta’s press pit construction process.

A: Delta Industrial has been providing custom press pit foundations for more than 25 years. We have always positioned ourselves as design-build specialists and have continued to grow in no small part due to our diversity of knowledge in all areas of construction.

Our project management process hasn’t changed over the years: we evaluate every aspect of the job—from analyzing soil conditions to ensuring we have appropriate staffing—before the job begins. The only thing that is different is that the press foundations we do have grown in scope.

No matter how big or small the manufacturer or the specific challenges, having the engineering expertise to ensure the foundation design-build can handle the extreme pressure put on it to endure operations day in and day out is critical.

Q: How difficult is the teaming of skilled workers for multiple crews on the road?

A: Each of our team members is cross trained in all areas of industrial concrete, steel and design. They are all specialists in certain areas, but if needed, they could take on the job of any others on our teams. This naturally brings a high level of efficiency.

We also are fortunate to have foremen who are able to manage the workflow and handle the challenges that continually come up in any job. The project foreman is an integral part of what we do, and it takes a lot of training and a proven level of commitment to go beyond standard expectations and become one.

It’s because of these factors that our teams work so well together. It also means that they are focused and not subject to distractions.

Q: In tight, harsh metal stamping environments, what steps are taken to minimize disruption for the manufacturer?

A: We partner and work directly with the customer’s leadership and plant engineers. Because of this working relationship, we use the drawings of the machine or press and the grounds to design a foundation tailored to accommodate specialized manufacturing process needs. This is our way to guarantee project success in meeting specific timelines and budget considerations and keep disruption and manufacturing downtime to a minimum.

Q: What are your customers’ top three expectations?

A: Cost, timing and service (i.e., quality, accuracy, engineering, etc.).

Cost: The onsite analysis we do is central to cost management. If you are going to succeed in this area, you must know what factors could arise that will have affect material costs, timeline or any other variables. You’ve got to do your homework.

For example, before we start any foundation, a soil test may be required to completely understand the soil condition. We have had to modify our approach to some projects based on knowing the conditions we were faced with.

We are also very cognizant of our employees’ health and safety. We do a complete safety analysis every morning on every job and again at the end of the day. This not only keeps our workers safe but also keeps productivity high and the job on track.

Timing: Having a thorough knowledge of a project’s parameters is important to completing projects, as meeting deadlines has a direct correlation with the job’s costs. Once you begin to build a reputation for on-time delivery and the other benefits it affords, it moves you up a level in the metalforming industry because you’re now considered for more difficult and demanding jobs.

Service: Customer service is the most important aspect of any business. Our directive is to complete a project in the most cost-efficient and timely manner. We want our customers to be completely satisfied. It does take a lot of hard work and commitment, but companies with customer-first practices are always leading the way—whatever industry they are in. MM

Tom Lytle, vice president at Delta Industrial, has decades of on-site experience managing the variables, facets and complexities that are critical for the successful construction of press pits and machine foundation in an ever-evolving manufacturing industry.