Now You See Me, Now You Don’t …

Developing timely and accurate quotations for precision machined components has been the cornerstone of growing Hergatt Machine, Inc.

Just for fun, here is a condensed list of the steps that need to be taken to generate a quotation:

  • Determine if the part is a good fit with buyer
  • Consider component size, material and tolerance requirements
  • Assess for required outside processes (heat treating, grinding, plating, anodizing, welding, etc.)
  • Determine quantity, lead time and budget targets
  • If there is a fit, receive RFQ and part print from buyer
  • Review material requirements
  • Send out RFQ’s to outside suppliers of materials and processes
  • Select appropriate machining process
  • Determine tooling, programming, fixturing and set-up costs
  • Perform time studies
  • Assess current workload conditions
  • Determine lead time
  • Compile data
  • Generate formal quotation…WHEW!

Before the advent of modern software programs this would take a day or more to complete.  With the aid of today’s software it now takes 2-5 hours per print.  A huge improvement, but getting there was not easy.

All potential systems were researched completely and narrowed to three.  The final decision was a no-brainer (or so it seemed at the time).  A generic part was demonstrated, the system performed as advertised, I purchased it, initial training was performed and I was on my own.  That is where the trouble began.

In the world of precision machining, there is no such thing as a generic part. Each part quoted requires a unique solution.  I was aware of this at the time I purchased the software and when asked, was told to call the support line (free for one year-unlimited).

So, when I needed assistance I left a message hoping someone would promptly respond.  This company’s idea of prompt was 48-72 hours.  When you are committed to turning inquiries into quotations in a timely manner, this was not helpful.

It wasn’t that the software did not perform as advertised; once connected to support, solutions were readily found.  It just took too long to make the connection. I finally gave up and purchased software from another vendor.  This time whenever I had a question, immediate support was available…..PROBLEM SOLVED!

In the competitive world of manufacturing, you can ill afford to do business with outside vendors of precision machined parts that are convincing on the front end of the sale, but nowhere to be found when questions come up (Now You See Me, Now You Don’t…….).

At Hergatt Machine, we pride ourselves in being there after the sale, as well as before.  But, don’t take my word for it, listen to what our customers say:

Some vendors have a habit of missing deliveries and need to be contacted to find out why the orders were not delivered on time. Neil keeps a watchful eye on delivery dates and if there is a scheduling conflict, we are contacted in time to make adjustments that we both can live with. We’re now provided with a higher level of quality than we received from our previous vendor.
Kristina, OTW

There is incredible communication between our companies.  We believe Hergatt treats every customer as if they were the most important.
-Troy, MM

This is Neil Hergatt, President of Hergatt Machine, Inc. reporting.  It would be my pleasure to discuss your production machining needs.  We are ISO Certified and Gorman Rupp Pumps of Mansfield, Ohio recently awarded us their “Best Machine Shop” two years running.  If you are dealing with the ‘Now You See Me, Now You Don’t’ syndrome, contact me.  We can help!

The Impact of Late Deliveries – and How It Can Be Avoided

Late deliveries – we have all experienced being promised a certain product by a specific date only to have that date come and go with no product arriving and no advanced warning from our vendor.  Let’s be honest, there are times when the delivery date was arbitrary and exact adherence to the “promised date” is not critical.Therefore, it’s no big deal.

However, in the fast paced environment of “Lean Manufacturing”, these instances are becoming rare.  When we talk about “Precision Machined Parts”, which are integral components in many manufactured products, the impact can be significant.

If you are a company which purchases machined parts, here is a theoretical example of how it could impact you.

Let’s use the example of a make-believe company that produces hydraulic pumps that are made for earth boring equipment, used to lay gas transmission lines. We will call them Specialty Pump Manufacturing, Inc., or SPM.

The pumps are sold for $4,000 per unit.  In order to keep up with a growing demand for their product, SPM has doubled its production over the past 5 years from 25 to 50 units per month.  Sales over the past 12 months were $2,400,000.  At this point in time they typically hold “a 10 unit Safety Stock” of completed product in inventory.

The company recently landed a 10 unit per month contract with a new customer.  This would increase its sales to 60 units per month.  Production said that this could be accomplished, so marketing was conservatively projecting $2,880,000 in sales for the next 12 months.

Originally, SPM outsourced the machining of its key components to a local machine shop well known for high quality and on-time delivery.  They charged $400 per unit for the machining work.  Two years ago, SPM found a new start-up machine shop that produced the same work for $360 per unit.  Over a one year period, taking small incremental steps to assure performance, they transferred all of the work to the new supplier.  This resulted in a total savings of $20,000, or 10% for the past 12 months, a tidy sum.

However, 2 weeks ago this machine shop missed their delivery, which resulted in a one week shut down of SPM’s assembly process.  Unfortunately this coincided with the promised delivery of the initial 10 piece order with the new customer and a 10 unit order with their #1 customer (which has purchased 10 units per month for the past two years).  They unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate a 5 unit delivery for each customer that week, so in the end they chose to deliver their 10 unit “Safety Stock” to their #1 customer.  This was a tough call and as a result, the new customer immediately canceled its 10 unit per month contract.  OUCH!!

Here is the projected impact of this event for the next 12 months:

  • Cost Savings realized by using the new machine shop:
    • 50 units per month * $40 per unit savings = $24,000
  • Lost production for the one week shut down:
    • 15 units * $4,000 per unit = $60,000
  • Lost sales from the canceled contract:
    • 120 units * $4,000 per unit = $480,000

So for SPM, $24,000 saved from choosing a lower cost source for their machined parts resulted in a loss of $540,000.  Clearly, the wise choice would have been to remain with the original machine shop.

My name is Neil Hergatt – President of Hergatt Machine, Incorporated.  Who among us has not had to make a decision similar to SPM’s?  In the world of precision machining, the overall cost of outsourced product cannot always be measured by purchase price alone.

We are ISO Certified and Gorman Rupp Pumps of Mansfield, Ohio recently awarded us as their “Best Machine Shop” two years running. If you struggle with meeting deadlines because of unreliable deliveries of machined parts, Contact Me today  and we can discuss solutions that will guarantee you’ll avoid the impact of late deliveries by purchasing from Hergatt Machine

 

 

As all who live in the competitive world of manufacturing know the pressure to reduce cost is real, ever present and unsuccessful efforts will put a squeeze on the bottom line.  Often times, this forces you, the purchasing manager, to find more cost effective sources for the supplies and products required to manufacture your products.

Many of these avenues are pretty straightforward, for instance buying the identical commodity item from a different source for 15% less.  That’s a definite win.

However, when it comes to the purchase of precision machined parts from outside vendors, sometimes cost savings can be found in places that are often overlooked.  For instance, many companies overlook the cost of poor quality (COPQ).  In a recent Quality Digest article by Danei Edelen, the following was discussed:

“According to Jack B. ReVelle, an ASQ Fellow and author of Quality Essentials: A Reference Guide from A to Z (ASQ, 2004), the cost of quality has numerous hidden costs to the company:

  • Research shows that cost of poor quality (COPQ) can range from 15 percent to 40 percent of business costs, e.g., rework, returns and complaints, reduced service levels, and lost revenue.
    • Most businesses don’t know what their quality costs are because they don’t keep reliable statistics.
    • Finding and correcting mistakes consumes an inordinately large portion of resources.
    • Typically, the cost to eliminate a failure in the customer phase is five times greater than it is at the development or manufacturing phase.
    • Effective quality management decreases production costs because the sooner an error is found and corrected, the less costly it will be.”

15% – 40% of business costs! That is serious money and the alarming part is, as stated above, “Most businesses don’t know what their quality costs are because they don’t keep reliable statistics”.
So what does that mean for you the person in charge of purchasing precision machined parts?   Here is a real life example:

Several years ago, a company that produced high-end locker room benches contacted Hergatt Machine, Inc. with a quality problem.  Their benches were attached to pedestals that were anchored to the floor.  These pedestals did not sit squarely to the floor (they were like the Leaning Tower of Pisa), so when installed in a row the benches didn’t line up!

A temporary fix was devised. Each pedestal base was shimmed (by trial and error) until the benches somewhat lined up.  It was a tedious, time consuming procedure.  Furthermore, the company still received numerous customer complaints, product rejections and worse yet they suffered loss of market share!  The company contacted Hergatt Machine looking for a solution to this problem.  It was ultimately solved by machining the top and bottom of each pedestal so they were parallel when assembled.

The result –Hergatt Machine has produced over 15,000 pedestals with zero customer complaints.  Was the customer charged more?  Yes, but the over-all cost was reduced because the units no longer had to be shimmed and most importantly, the customer has gained significant market share since that time.

My name is Neil Hergatt – President of Hergatt Machine, Incorporated.  The above example is only one of many similar “problems solved” stories I could tell you.  It illustrates how you can actually reduce your cost by paying more for a quality machined item.  Why? Because the headache of ReVelle’s (COPQ) has been overcome.

We are ISO Certified and Gorman Rupp Pumps of Mansfield, Ohio recently awarded us their “Best Machine Shop” two years running.  Contact me today to discuss how you can overcome the burden of (COPQ) and grow your business by purchasing quality machined parts from Hergatt Machine!