Case Study / 03.21.2019

Investing in Relationships for Big Results

Driving Cost Savings and Increasing Efficiency for a Large Scale Aluminum Consumer

Investing in Relationships for Big Results - Image

The Consumer

The consumer’s company is a large consumer products manufacturer serving the packaging industry. They use primarily aluminum and alloying agents in their process.

The Challenge

The consumer’s organization had been working with Shapiro Metals for a few years, purchasing relatively small amounts of aluminum to manufacture a product line they were marketing as being made from recycled materials.

The consumer had been adding alloying agents to their aluminum. This added a layer of complexity to their material handling process, since two separate metals had to be staged at the furnaces. They were also experiencing less recovery when they added the two base materials together in their process, since aluminum and the other alloying agent have different melting temperatures. Finally, the alloying agent was an expensive material to source, so they were looking for a more cost-effective alternative.

The Solution: Part One

In late 2016, Rick Dobkin and Bruce Shapiro met with the producer with a new, out-of-the-box idea. Bruce and Rick suggested that Shapiro begin supplying the consumer with an aluminum-master alloy that included some of the properties that they were alloying separately.

The consumer embraced the idea, and they agreed to trial loads of material to see how the new alloying would work in the process. After successful trials, the consumer was able to replace a significant volume of their alloying agent with Shapiro-produced recycled content agents.

Not only the did the new aluminum master alloy save the consumer more than they originally thought, but it also simplified their material handling process and began yielding better recovery. This increased recovery contributed to the cost-effectiveness of the program.

The Follow Up

After implementing the new program, Bruce and Rick paid the consumer another visit to check in to see how it was going with the new alloy. As they walked around the plant, they noticed other metals staged in front of furnaces, while the material from Shapiro Metals was stacked outside. Growing concerned, Rick and Bruce asked our partners why they weren’t utilizing all the materials they’d purchased from Shapiro. They learned that due to the weight of the metal supplied, the consumer was having difficulty utilizing it.

The Solution, Part Two

Bruce and Rick worked with the operations team at Shapiro to cut the size of the alloyed blocks in half. They also worked to ensure the consumer still received the metal they needed in proper proportions. Since this adjustment, the relationship has only continued to grow and flourish. The alloyed material aligns with the consumer’s process—saving cost, increasing efficiency, and improving safety.


This is a success story that illustrates exactly why we place so much value on developing long-lasting relationships with our customer and consumer partners. Because of a proactive approach to this particular relationship, the consumer solved a challenge they hadn’t thought of as solvable, and we were able to grow our business with them. Listening to our partners continues to prove one of the most worthwhile things we do here at Shapiro.