Sheet metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association


Fight Rising Steel Prices with Lean

Jul 18, 2018


Sheet Metal Made Lean and Clean 200v3Many sheet metal distributors didn’t waste time passing along steel price increases that they blamed on the new 25 percent tariff on imported steel entering the U.S.

How can contractors deal with these increases in steel prices and the domino effect it will have on other products? The obvious answer is to raise prices like everyone else. Raising prices is easy to implement and defend. It also has a risk though. What if you raise your prices higher than your competitors?

There is an alternative strategy to raising prices that contractors can consider. Lean construction offers a cost-cutting alternative to raising prices. Lean construction seeks to reduce the seven basic wastes common in all construction work. Applying lean construction techniques may not seem like a way to address the challenges of steel tariffs but it provides another way contractors can keep their costs competitive.

Learn more about applying lean techniques in the Snips magazine article Fight High Steel Prices with Efficient Sheet Metal Shop Operations.

In addition, SMACNA offers members the manual Sheet Metal Made Lean and Clean, available in the SMACNA store. It provides owners, managers, and workers in sheet metal fabrication and manufacturing shops a great introduction to the principles and methods of lean production. The manual provides a variety of tools to begin the process of making shop operations more efficient. It illustrates how lean principles can eliminate waste and save money.