Greetings to all! This is my first opportunity to address the metalcasting industry as a whole since I had the privilege of assuming the presidency of Casting Industry Suppliers Association, last fall at our annual business meeting in Chicago. So, special thanks to Foundry Management & Technology for providing me with this platform.
I have been active in CISA for nearly ten years and a member of its Board of Directors since 2014. For anyone who is not familiar with CISA, we are an organization of supplier companies dedicated to advancing the metalcasting industry. Our membership ranks include some of the most recognizable companies in the industry. It is likely you are currently doing business with a CISA member.
By working together to keep the industry strong, our members are certainly contributing to their own longevity as suppliers. More important, however, our efforts assist our members by strengthening the connections with their customers, which leads to improvements in safety and environmental compliance, and to the advancements in technology that drive our industry forward.
CISA is now one full year into the second century of our organization and service — a notable accomplishment in this era of “insta” this and that. It is worth noting also that several of our member companies have considerable longevity in business in their own rights. We have member companies that have been in operation for over 50, 75 and even 100 years. These are the milestones achieved only by those who are committed to expertise, advancement and customer satisfaction.
But, while the history of CISA provides multiple examples of past successes to reflect upon, our focus is on the future. It is only by innovating our products, our methods, and our service that we will continue to prosper. This is the most valuable lesson we have learned over the past 100 years: As an organization, we are focused continuously on providing the industry with new ways to improve production, enhance safety, increase efficiency, increase quality and grow profits.
And fortunately (for us at least) the dynamics of the metalcasting industry are such that this need for innovation is always timely. There is always a lot going on! Just think of our current state of affairs: Regulatory pressures are forcing us to innovate in environmental control technologies. Tariffs and trade wars are challenging our commercial activities. Automotive designs are transitioning to electric motors. Advancements in technologies like 3D printing are fundamentally changing manufacturing processes. And all of our businesses are running out of qualified people! These developments, and many other factors, demand our attention and will need to be addressed effectively and responsibly as our industry moves forward.
As an organization, CISA is poised and ready to assist the metalcasting industry to deal with these or any other challenge. There is no need for any foundry to go it alone (unless that is there preference.) Our members companies are staffed primarily to serve as technical resources for their customers. Very often, they also are also to provide support in engineering, safety, environmental compliance, even administration and human resources. I encourage you to explore the availability these resources. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised with the support that is available to you from our members.
CISA, too, has upgraded its services to serve our membership better in their efforts to serve their customers. We are conducting training sessions for member employees to ensure better understanding of basic foundry technologies. Our summer meetings include foundry tours complete with management presentations about those operations. In May, we toured the Anvil Foundry and DONSCO facilities in eastern Pennsylvania, and then coordinated with the local AFS Chapter to participate in its spring technical conference.
An area of particular personal importance has been CISA’s cooperation with AFS over the past three years on its Government Fly-In program — a proactive approach to engage federal officials directly on the issues most important to metalcasters.
I learned early on in my sales career one of the best things a supplier can do is assist his customers to expand their market potential. Some of the key legislative items for the AFS Government Affairs Committee at the 2019 Government Fly-In were a Buy American provision in federal contracts; US Water/Waste Water Infrastructure improvement funding; and Transit Infrastructure Vehicle security and Infrastructure Network modernization. All of this legislation, once enacted, would lead to increased demand for cast parts and components. CISA’s recent efforts on Capitol Hill with our individual Congressional representatives increased their awareness of our industry and its ability to contribute to these initiatives. And that has created future growth opportunities for the metalcasting industry.
Looking forward, CISA will be convening in Chicago again for our annual business meeting in November. The agenda will include an economic forecast and foundry-specific market data presentations. Next spring we head to Nashville for our annual summer meeting. We are always interested to hear from metalcasting executives on the status of their organizations and the industry at these meetings, so please contact me if you would like to join us.
I wish all metalcasters the best of luck in the coming year. Remember that CISA is here to help you.
Steve Ryan is the Foundry Team Leader for Badger Mining Corp., Berlin, WI, and the President of the Casting Industry Suppliers Assn. Contact him at [email protected], or visit www.cisa.org for more information.