Although not a true manufacturer, All Pro Freight Systems Inc. works hand-in-hand with its manufacturing clients to create logistics solutions that have made the Avon company part of the manufacturing process.
When one of All Pro’s customers, a manufacturer and distributor of home medical products, needed a one-stop solution for its warehousing and logistics, All Pro designed a process that uses an All Pro facility to receive all inbound manufacturing parts, perform the quality inspection and warehouse the parts. To do this, it purchased a 90,000-square-foot building — within a stone’s throw of the customer — which is used to receive and inspect all incoming freight.
All Pro warehouses the inventory that supports the manufacturing line. Previously, the customer carried more inventory than needed to ensure parts were available. The partnership changed this, allowing the customer to develop a consignment inventory program with its suppliers and, through All Pro, have delayed billing until the product is consumed.
The net result of All Pro’s solution for its client? In the first year, approximately $1 million in inventory reductions.
Vocational Guidance Services
Introducing new programs into its already successful operations is part of the fabric at Vocational Guidance Services. So it’s little surprise that in 2006, VGS used a federally funded grant for assistive technology to improve the manufacturing processes for its women’s slacks production line.
VGS purchased new machines for its Power Sewing Division that allowed its work force — primarily people with disabilities — to change the way the slacks were made, dramatically reducing the time necessary to train employees and allowing more of the work force to participate in the process.
Traditionally, women’s slacks were made front to back, which required an extremely skilled worker and proved difficult for VGS’ employees to accomplish in a short amount of time. But using the new machinery, it was able to change the production method to left to right, a process previously only used in the manufacture of men’s pants.
The new methodology improved the overall manufacturing efficiency — something noted by clients — but more important, allowed people with more severe disabilities to work in the Power Sewing Division and to learn the job in less than the six months previously required to train employees.
The team at PartsSource continues to innovate. The 2006 eVolution of Manufacturing honoree last year introduced myPartsSource.com, a Web-based application that allows users not only to order medical replacement parts from PartsSource, but also to manage their parts purchases from other suppliers.
This new technology provides customers with the ability to analyze their entire parts purchases and consolidate the information into an online parts ordering and management system. Essentially, PartsSource has integrated itself into its customers’ supply chain — not just as a supplier, but as an inventory manager.
Another innovation the Twinsburg-based firm developed within the past year is its PartsFinder 2.0 module, which allows it to capture parts requests online, scan warehouse inventory for available stock and, if unavailable in-house, to seek out the best vendors on the open market to secure pricing options for its customers.
PartsSource’s database contains more than 6,000 vendors, and in less than two hours, it can contact its customers with original equipment manufacturer pricing and a variety of new, refurbished and used parts options, which provides customers savings of between 15 and 60 percent off current OEM parts pricing.
Finally, during 2006, the company began forming joint partnerships and purchasing segments of its own supply chain. By bringing the ownership of those suppliers in-house, it has developed what it calls the National PartsSource Alliance and has dramatically improved its ability to serve customers.