What is “Value Added?” For many years, this term is used to vaguely give the impression that a vendor adds more to his product than can reasonably be expected. But it is so vague, that it doesn’t pin down anything. Olinx Technologies Inc. does not want to be so vague. We want to be more explicit, and tell you what we do for our customers, by giving actual examples of how we increase our customer’s benefit
Olinx Technologies Saves the Quarter!
Our customer was committed to ship their product to meet their end of quarter (April 30th) sales targets, but their supplier announced that they were discontinuing the production of an important component.
Our customer compensated by going to another supplier, (with an appropriate core competency). This supplier shipped the goods and our customer continued assembly, but during testing, the new supplier’s product failed.
This meant that all of the assemblies, which included this suspect component, were un-shippable and our customer would lose sales. They needed nearly 50,000 units before the end of April.
Olinx Technologies to the rescue! We promised a supply. We received an order on April 12 for 10,000. (The customer not believing we could supply the quantity they needed was looking for additional suppliers).
Apparently, no other suppliers were able to fulfill their needs, because the customer issued another order for 40,000 to Olinx Technologies on April 16.
We shipped production samples to the customer’s testing laboratories and although the normal satisfactory life test was 10,000 actuations, our product surpasses 30,000 actuations.
We began partial shipments as soon as manufactured and inspected, and the customer received the first 3,000 units on April 19. They received subsequent shipments on April 23 (7,500 units), April 25 (5,100 units), April 26 (5,300 units), April 29 (10,300 units) and on April 30 (14,700 units), thus keeping abreast of our customer’s daily maximum assembly capacity of 4,800 units.
Since receiving the order, Olinx Technologies put 45,900 units into our customer’s hands within 10 working days.
Is 6 percent scrap okay?
One day, when we were visiting a customer’s plant, we noticed their production lines were producing fully assembled solenoids. But as we were leaving the area, we saw a tote box, full of solenoid coils, being dumped into a scrap bin. We asked: “What is the problem with the coils?” “Bad connection” was the answer. We probed further “How much scrap percentage does that represent?” we asked expecting some figure under 1%, but we got such a big surprise that we asked for confirmation to make sure. “That is a line scrap of 6%”, and it was followed by an even more surprising piece of information… “This is typical. The daily thing we deal with here” as our host showed us the bad connections.
We realized immediately what we could do to solve the problem. And it took us three weeks to demonstrate the solution to the customer. After, a little red tape, the connection duty was transferred to us, and the customer started to forget their past problems, as they enjoyed the benefits of controlled solenoid assembly, with daily yields of 99.9%.
With the same AC solenoid product, we were told that if we could solve the “buzzing” problem we would get more business. Our investigation showed that the customer’s products were losing market share, because of their annoying noise. Our president solved the problem during one night of invention in his hotel room. These ideas were then put to test by constructing prototypes. One month later, we were demonstrating to a room full of our customer’s management. When we turned on the power supply, they could not believe the lack of noise. They accused us of not turning on the switch! Many of them got off their chairs to turn the switch on and off, and see for themselves the solenoid operate silently.
After a smooth transition, we began supplying quiet solenoid parts. AC solenoids buzz! And if not manufactured well, this buzzing can be amplified to the extent that it annoys end-users. We are experts at finding simple ways to solve these types of problems. After using our parts and our application machinery to do the assembly, the resulting solenoids were essentially silent. By eliminating the very expensive rework the company had customarily done for years, we saved them money.
88 percent of quotes accepted!
Many times, value added items are not apparent. They are often hidden in the quoting process, where clever innovative ideas vault the product up from ordinary, and win quotation acceptance. For example, in planning sheet metal parts, we can frequently nest a group of different parts, which have the same material and thickness and run them in one piece of tooling at the same time, with minimum scrap. This can cut cost dramatically! This sort of creative thinking is why we have a quotation success rate of 88%.
Application Engineering Applied
We make it our business to do our best to understand the end application of our products and our customer’s products. Many times we discover things by talking to the customer, and the end user, which would not come to light without years of hard thinking. After these solenoids are finished, and assembled into the product they operate, they go out to work. Our customer maintains a field complaint department, which documents and investigates failures. By talking to their engineers, we heard that a few of their products are returned because of bad connections at the solenoid. Further questioning brought out that they had seen field installers carelessly carry the relatively heavy product by its solenoid lead wires. No amount of written and verbal instruction seemed to prevent this. Again, our innovative thinking solved this problem very quickly. By reversing the solenoid bobbin and improving the connection strength, we made the lead wires able to take the weight of the heavy product without straining the wire connections. Very soon our suggestions were implemented and the problems eased.
Chinese New Year… suspended
Those of us who deal with China, know that their Chinese New Year is a major celebration. This means that everything is shut down for two weeks. Industrial parks are closed up, and the power turned off, while everybody travels to their hometowns to be with family for this very important time. Our customer suddenly had a pleasant surprise. Marketing reported a need for more product, and so production plans ramped up. But then the not so pleasant surprise, there was no immediate ready stock to satisfy the demand and the sources of the parts required were shut down for Chinese New Year. Olinx Technologies into action! We were on our phones all night. The next day, adequate stock was found in a Chinese warehouse, but it was not completely finished. Did we give up? NO! With some arm-twisting, we got the power turned on, craftsmen bribed to come to work (money talks), and the parts were finished. Then, air freighted to our US warehouse, inspected and made available to our customer. End result? The customer had no hitch in their plans. They went full steam ahead, supported by our reliable supply.
High Cost Destroyed
When the market learns of a good new product, they want it fast. When they call in an order, they want it coming out of the phone! So, a business has to move, and in this environment, components are designed quickly, the essential requirement being they simply must work. Product engineers do not have the luxury of having ample time to do a thorough job of creating the absolute best. This means that most products are simply adequate, and this is alright in a market which expects continual improvement. However, there is one facet of design which time pressure leaves begging. This is making the components at minimum cost. Olinx Technologies is expert at finding these cases and bringing to the customer money saving suggestions. One common case is when a product has to use a non standard component. A product usually contains screws and fittings that are commonly used standard hardware, but many times there are conditions where “standard” does not work and the engineer is forced to make a special design. Typically these designs are expensive. It often happens that Olinx Technologies is invited to quote on one of these expensive special designs. It is then that we apply our talent to reduce cost. An example: We were asked to quote on a special plumbing fitting. This we did at such a competitive price that we won the order. But we did not rest on our laurels. It became obvious to us that the cost could be reduced. The material being brass was expensive and so we optimized the material distribution and the method of forming the required shape. Very soon we had reduced the material cost by 30% and able to offer a customer a 16% price reduction. This saved them $312,000 per year. Again not resting on laurels, the very next year we added another $102,000 to the savings. We love collecting laurels like this.
You want it? We get it to you within minutes!
We are always ready to improve delivery service. When we were first supplying a customer, they had to wait many days for their order to travel across the country from New Jersey to Texas. Then, to speed things up we hired an independent warehousing operation in Texas, and arranged for them to deliver with a day’s notice. Then, after consultation with the customer, we occupied space in their plant, paying them rent, and doing our own warehousing; result: the customer could pick up at our gate, within minutes of their order.
Even when we had to leave their premises, because they needed the space for production lines, we found a way to maintain the same service by establishing our own warehouse, located nearby on the customer’s pick up route. Now, when the customer issues a “Kanban” notice, we have the consignment ready within minutes, for pick up.
Many times, there have been emergency requirements. We get the product into our customer’s hands, in less than an hour.
Alarming pictures of our customer’s product with a pressure vessel failure! Broken studs, shut down production, customer in BIG trouble. Olinx Technologies to the rescue! As we are always watchful for chances to help our customer, within minutes of digesting this catastrophe, we jumped into action. The fatigue stress was analyzed, and their stud material was found to be deficient. Within two days, we had samples of new improved studs ready, and next day air shipped to our customer’s laboratory for intensive testing. The results concluded that the improved studs provided by Olinx Technologies will solve the problem. Next problem! How can we grab this great business opportunity by supplying sufficient parts to replace the existing stocks in the customer’s warehouses, and in distributor warehouses, and in the field? Answer: By simply invigorating all of our available resources to move super fast. Materials ordered, tooling designed and acquired and production started on new studs even before customer had time to place an order. Then air freighting everyday production to our customer’s assembly shops until the first ocean container load arrived. Results: Problem solved! Crisis averted! Customer’s production back to normal! Grateful customer pays all extra expenses and awards long term 2 year supply agreement to Olinx Technologies.
The disappearing wheel bearing
Our customer makes a product that uses wheels. Suddenly, a supplier of the wheel bearing doubled his price, and discontinued production. Upon hearing this, we offered to help by bringing in an exact replacement. But the customer could not wait and had to apply an alternative. This cost them $150,000 for tooling changes. It would have been easy to just give up and let it go, but our policy is to constantly look for solutions to problems and to make improvements. We could see that if the alternative does not work out the customer will be in big trouble, so we offered to continue with our plan to provide samples in 5 weeks (This involved building tooling for powdered metal sintering). The customer asked if we can give him samples a bit sooner. We promised 3 weeks and gave him a date on which to expect them. We mobilize our crew and we placed the samples in his hand EXACTLY ON THE DAY PROMISED. Although it seems that his alternative is now going to be used, we feel we did a great service. Our customer has our supply of his original design back. It made a tremendous difference and relieved the pressure on management just at the busy season. Although we would have liked the business immediately, we are very glad to be a ready back up. We know it is appreciated. We made something that disappeared available again, and we kept our promise.
We had just read an article about the White Finger Syndrome (WFS) describing the harm caused by vibration in hand held machinery, when we went out with a leaf blower to clean up the lawn. After about 30 minutes of this, the same symptoms described in the article on WFS became apparent in our hand. Of course we immediately stopped leaf blowing, with the idea that we would have professional gardeners do the job. However, we are problem solvers, so we began to study the problem and very soon came up with ways to reduce the vibration in leaf blowers.
The surprising thing was that the large attenuation we achieved, was by design cleverness, which did not require any significant change in the shape or manufacture of the motor and impeller, and absolutely no change in the housing.
Early testing by an interested outside party, demonstrated a clear 50% reduction in vibration. Not being satisfied with that, our subsequent work has resulted in vibration levels far lower.
One of the advantages of this work is that the energy which previously went into forcing unwanted vibration, is now converted into better more forceful air flow, which does a better job of leaf piling and/or mulching. Is it our imagination? But is the blower also quieter?