Ways Technology Can Help Metal Fabricators Overcome Challenges

Ways Technology Can Help Metal Fabricators Overcome Challenges

Table of Contents

The need for metal products in numerous industries has been fueling the continuous rise of the metal fabrication sector over the past few years. Despite this growth, the industry faces various challenges including raw material costs, supply chain disruption, and a worker shortage. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the ways technology can help metal fabricators overcome challenges.

Metal Fab Vendor Report_Graphics_Landing page

ERP Vendor Update: Metal Fabrication

The ERP Vendor Update: Metal Fabrication offers a close-up look at 8 top ERP solutions for the fabricated metal products industry.


Cost vs Quality

One of the biggest challenges facing the metal-processing industry is the need to reduce costs while maintaining quality. Factors such as raw material prices, labor costs and part complexity each add to production costs.

This is where technology can really make a difference to balance high quality while controlling costs. For example, automation can help reduce labor costs and improve efficiency. By using robots and other automated systems, metal-processing companies can reduce the need for human labor and increase productivity.

Additionally, many manufacturers are updating legacy software systems with modern ERP systems which include functionality to efficiently manage inventory and add visibility to financial data. Plus, production software built for fabricators—and integrated with an ERP— can help optimize processes to reduce cost and waste.

Supply Chain Uncertainty

The supply chain is still feeling the effects of pandemic disruption with shortages in raw materials, longer lead times and shipping delays. McKinsey research reports that companies now can expect disruptions lasting a month or longer to occur every 3.7 years on average. With this new reality, it’s important for fabricators to strengthen and automate their practices of supply chain and inventory management.

Again, technology can help. By optimizing order amounts and planning delivery to coincide with production requirements, effective supply chain management software can assist to shorten lead times and reduce inventory costs.  In addition, a manufacturing ERP system provides accurate demand forecasting based on historical trends, as well as inventory management functionality for tracking, cycle counting, and supply and demand analysis tools, reducing over- or under-stocking.

ways technology can help metal fabricators overcome challenges

Moving the Workforce Forward

A recent report by the National Association of Manufacturers cites “nearly three-quarters of respondents (74.9%) listed attracting and retaining a quality workforce as a primary business challenge.” This shortage is fueled by several factors:

  • Rate of older workers retiring with the absence of younger workers to take their place
  • Lack of skilled workers trained on advanced manufacturing technology
  • Inaccurate perceptions of young workers about the manufacturing industry

Businesses that use automation can fill in the gaps left by a lack of manpower, streamlining their operations so that staff members can concentrate on knowledge-based jobs rather than tedious rote tasks. Automated technologies can also lessen the physical demands of some manufacturing jobs, allowing elderly employees to work for longer.

Investment is Key

Of course, technology isn’t a magic bullet. It’s important for metal-processing companies to invest in the right technology and to use it effectively. This means training employees to use new systems and processes, and continually evaluating and improving their operations.

Continuous improvement involves applying positive change to enhance processes and capabilities across the board. All departments must be aligned with the goal of consistently identifying and improving processes and eliminating waste. Methods of analyzing KPIs must be implemented to assess attainment of efficiency standards for the long-term.


In conclusion, technology can be a powerful tool for the metal-processing industry. By investing in automation, monitoring systems, and other advanced technologies, companies can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and boost productivity. However, it’s important to use technology effectively and to continually evaluate and improve operations. With the right approach, the metal-processing industry can overcome modern challenges and thrive in the years to come.

For more information on how technology can help your fabrication company, schedule your free discovery call with an Ultra consultant today.


Scroll to Top