It takes a wide array of people to create each C³ machine. You’ve met some of the electrical and mechanical engineers that design them. And we’ve introduced you to the assemblers and electricians that turn those designs into reality. We’ve even introduced you to our support team that assists you with your machine needs during and after installation.
There’s one team you haven’t met that helps ensure each department has what they need to design, build, and service our machines from beginning to end. Let us introduce you to Lisa, our Purchasing Leader, and show how she works with our vendors and all C³ departments to keep your machines on-schedule and running.
Vendor Collaboration for Kitting Parts
The purchasing team works as a central point of contact among many of our departments and vendors. When we made the decision to change some of our receiving and assembly processes, it was Lisa leading the communication of those desired changes with our vendors.
As we shared with you in our blog about our new ERP system, one of the most crucial changes was kitting our parts by project. Brady, our Operations Lead, explains that process like this: “Each of our systems consists of thousands of parts that range from the size of a pencil to ones as big as a car, and keeping those parts organized is crucial. We started by breaking the machine into sections, then breaking those sections down further into kits. The goal is to streamline the process for the assembly teams so they can find the parts they need, in the order they need them.” By doing this, we’ve seen significant improvement in both quality and time savings. The new ERP system also allows us to measure these improvements consistently and accurately and this change has been extremely successful for our assembly team.
Transitioning to this method of parts-ordering required a lot of communication between Lisa and our vendors, but it’s a transition that has paid off for both us and them. “By kitting our parts,” she explains, “we’ve gone from receiving parts for one project on half a dozen pallets in countless cardboard boxes with additional dunnage, and reduced that to about three pallets of parts in reusable packaging that we return to the vendor.” It’s reduced waste and eased the packaging process for those vendors by requiring fewer materials. It’s also saved time and eased both assembly and receiving by allowing us to easily confirm the parts are all there and scan them into WIP.
Building relationships with our vendors has been key and it’s one of the things Lisa enjoys most about her work. Lisa views her involvement with our vendors as a partnership. She explains, “We work very closely with them, but we also help each other out. When I need parts in a pinch, I have vendors that will drive over here right away to deliver them. We make sure we’re forecasting out for them so they know what to expect coming down the pipeline. And C³’s growth positively affects our vendors because the more machines we sell, the more parts we’re buying. If we’re growing, they’re growing, too.”
Maintaining a Customer-First Viewpoint
As with our vendors, building relationships internally has been just as important. Lisa and the purchasing team are integral to the execution of every project that comes through our facility, and they are involved with each department every step of the way. The process starts in engineering, where they determine the right parts for each machine and when they’re needed. When the parts arrive, Lisa connects with receiving and assembly to make sure all parts are accurate, which is important for staying on schedule. “If a part comes in wrong or damaged, we get them the correct part ASAP so it doesn’t hold back assembly time at all,” Lisa says.
She explains that she views each department as a customer of hers, and it’s her job to get them everything they need to complete a project. “We work hard to make sure there are no bottlenecks caused by missing or wrong parts,” she explains. “Engineering, assembly, and shipping/receiving are all my customers; who then help us achieve the goals of our final customers. It’s purchasing’s job to make sure we do everything we can to keep them on schedule so the machine ships on time.”
The purchasing team addresses C³’s customers’ needs in much the same way they address internal project needs, too. If you call our support team and need parts for your equipment, Lisa works with customer service to determine if there are available parts in-house, or if we need to reach out to our vendors to have parts shipped directly to you.
Whether you’re buying your first C³ machine or expanding, we think it’s important you know every “part” of our operations has your back. Now, with all this efficiency, you’re probably wondering how soon we can build your next one! Contact us today and schedule a visit. You may even get a sneak peek at what designs we’ll be releasing next.