WYOMING, Mich., and TRENTON, Mich.—Two U.S. manufacturing companies from the state of Michigan—Die-Tech & Engineering, of Wyoming, Michigan, and Trenton Forging, of Trenton, Michigan—were named 2020 winners of the third annual National Metalworking Reshoring Award, according to a release from the Reshoring Initiative. The award is given annually to U.S. companies that overcame obstacles to bring manufacturing back to America. It recognizes the top cases of reshoring in the production of products, parts, or tooling made primarily by metal forming, fabricating, or machining, including additive manufacturing.

The National Metalworking Reshoring Award is sponsored by AMT (Association for Manufacturing Technology), the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Reshoring Initiative. Harry Moser, founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, made the announcement on September 15 on the IMTS Network.

A key factor in the selection of Die-Tech & Engineering, according to Moser, was the fact that it competes in a sector that faces particular competitive challenges in the United States. Wage rates are higher here due to the complexity and labor-intensive nature of its processes. Die-Tech & Engineering makes injection molds and die-cast dies.

“It’s very important to show that this category can be reshored,” Moser said in a statement. The company was also recognized for its five-day turnaround of a critical component during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of our focuses is to be cost competitive and [provide] quick lead times to help bring products back on shore,” said Die-Tech Owner Bill Perry, in the release. “Some of the products we’ve worked on in the last year are office furniture products, some consumer products, but most interesting, perhaps, was a very short lead time effort to tool up for ventilators that couldn’t have been done logistically in a time frame that was needed.”

Trenton Forging also stood out as a deserving recipient of the award for two key factors, according to Moser. The company succeeded in supplying components that had previously been imported from Japan by a Japanese machining company doing business in the United States. Moser said Trenton demonstrated substantial investment in automation and processing, as well as quality innovation, both of which are essential in a high-wage country like the U.S.

Trenton Forging is shipping approximately 3,000 sets of forged fuel rails to its customer each day as part of a seven-year project.

“The factors that came into play the most were things like duty, freight, inventory carrying cost, and lead and delivery times,” said Trenton Forging Director of Manufacturing Chelsea Moxlo Lantto, in the release. “And what those translate into, is being reliable and dependable and being able to communicate with our customer on a daily basis.” She added that Trenton is not only in the same time zone as its customer, but within an eight-hour drive, facilitating face-to-face meetings when needed.

“We’re able to respond really effectively,” she said. “In addition to that, we had to prove to our customer that we have equipment redundancy, so if anything were to break down, we have a backup waiting in the wings ready to go, so there’s no delay in shipping. When our customer was looking to bring this product back to North America, those factors were really the ones that stood out in making sure that we were competitive.”

Moser said that the actions taken by Trenton Forging show “what more U.S. companies should do.”

Trenton Forging emphasized total cost of ownership in its bid to replace its overseas competitor. Moser encouraged all companies to make use of the Reshoring Initiative’s free, online Total Cost of Ownership Estimator as a means to duplicate Trenton’s success.

Applications for the 2021 National Metalworking Reshoring Award are now being taken. Companies wishing to enter may submit their entries here.

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