NIM In The News
Northern Manufacturing Lauded by The Fabricator for 100 percent OTD
In March of 2019 Northern Industrial Manufacturing was featured in an article in The Fabricator, the official publication of The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl.
That article highlighted Northern Industrial’s responsive “final link” stamping process for the production of precision thrust washers, selective shims, and spacers – and how these parts are what literally “fill the gap” in a transmission or axle assembly. The publication also explored how we utilize state-of-the-art ERP software to help meet 100 percent OTD in manufacturing – while doubling our plant output.
Being the final link in the supply chain of an automaker means that the supplied components’ dimensions have to be very precise in order to to ensure perfect fit-up or stackup. And, even though there is virtually no lead time, suppliers like Northern Manufacturing can’t hold up the assembly line, even if they have only a few hours to fulfill the order.
Here’s how it works. The automaker won’t know exactly which shim dimensions it needs to achieve stackup until all of the other components have been supplied and assembled. So, when the “final link” like Northern Industrial is contacted, thousands of these shims at a very specific size must be produced with a lead time as little as 6 or 7 hours – and no more than a few weeks.
How Northern Industrial Manufacturing Embraced Change
Manufacturing to a high degree of precision has never been difficult for Northern Industrial Manufacturing. We have always been a high-quality producer for the automotive industry – making parts to an amazing tolerance of 1⁄10 of a human hair.
The article, however, chronicles how NIM stepped up it’s game when it came to documentation-related issues, including: part numbers, labels and packing slips, and invoicing.
Eliminating documentation-related customer complaints was the directive of our Vice President Jeff Hohlfeldt. He had witnessed the difference that enterprise resource planning (ERP) software made at his former employer, a FORTUNE 500® company, where they boasted a very successful SAP implementation that was well supported by ERP software.
As a result, Jeff invested in IQMS ERP software – overcoming internal objections and bringing change to the company culture. While implementing the new ERP system was not simple at first —not because the software was difficult, but because the changes were not readily accepted – the benefits were almost immediate.
How ERP Software Improved Manufacturing
Once the data, such as a part ID number, has been entered correctly into the ERP system, it can be called up again and again, so it’s always accurate. Instead of the plant manager having to store the inventory status of 900 parts in his head or on paper, inventory is stored in the system, providing a 95 percent accurate snapshot of inventory.
Machine use and availability is also stored in the ERP system, so machine use is tracked, planned and efficiently scheduled. NIM also utilized the IQMS ERP system to overhaul its equipment preventive maintenance – enabling the maintenance crew to schedule a replacement before equipment fails. As a result, in the first full year of implementing the ERP software, the company had zero lost days caused by machine breakdowns.
OTD, Zero Defects
All of these improvements helped Northern Industrial achieve a 100 percent on-time delivery (OTD) rate while maintaining its zero defects practice.
Essentially, the ERP software filled in the gap between our company’s excellent production quality and its documentation quality – further bolstering Northern Industrial Manufacturings commitment to excellence and further cementing their reputation for unparalleled quality and 100% on time delivery with zero defects.
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