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Customer Service Orders – Overcoming Customer Obstacles to Improve Response Time in the Order Entry

Customer Service Orders

We receive orders from our customers that tell us what to manufacture, how to manufacture it and those orders come in various formats. They may come in a blanket order, they may come in just releases from a blanket that really indicates to us what we should be making, how to make it, quantities and delivery dates. We have customer service managers that are assigned to certain customers that typically receive the purchase orders. They are talking with the customers to understand what releases they are planning to see from their customer and from those orders that are received.  The customer service manager then can streamline the order by getting it through the process to the order entry group and answer any questions relative to the order.

CAD Files

One or two other thoughts would be Tim, when we receive the order with CAD files that are easy to break apart.  If you will as opposed to a solid model, it helps our engineers get the parts nested, determine how many parts we can get out of a sheet as fast as possible. We get the laser programs built as fast as possible and get the order to the floor as fast as it can possibly be. To me what holds us up is many orders will get, as Mike indicated questions on the front end technically we are going back and forth to the customer.  We don’t have the CAD files or we have the CAD files and it is a solid file and we can’t break it apart and all those things just lead to one delay after another.

Cutting CAD Parts

One other thing on the shop floor, when we are cutting a CAD part for the first time.  If that part is designed in CAD I believe we can also simplify the checking process.  If we are able to verify that the part is in the right CAD scale as opposed to checking 60 or 30 or 40 different dimensions on a part which may not add a lot of value. If it is a CAD file, it is an electronic file and we are ready to go and move forward with it rather than sometimes going through checking that we are really just verifying the engineering file is correct when we do that.

A point that I would like to add would be that some orders stem from quotes, so when a quote is pulled together a lot of the engineering is done. Sometimes up front so to speak and really it is a matter of working towards converting those reviews that have been done by our engineering team to get that order and really just take it and stream line it to an order. Once we would receive, submit our quote and receive the order. My initial thought is just response time in general and that is not just with deliveries but information. We work in a very fast paced business and customers need answers and most of the customers we work with are OEMs and they have people to report to. They have customers as well and they need information and answers, not necessarily delivery of parts. I think it is almost just as important to have an answer on something.  I can share a story where communication with a customer really helped facilitate the process in terms of barriers that we run into.

Form, Fit and Function

We had a first article part that we produced about a week ago.  Mike actually, physically took that part to the customer and the customer looked at it and from a form, fit and function perspective it worked although not every dimension on the print was in tolerance. We talked to the customer about what the critical dimensions are through that dialogue, the input Mike had really helped our welding team on the floor. It was a complicated welding part, very thin on a larger distortion, so the weld team on the floor was hung up on some of the issues associated with making that part to print.  The insight Mike was able to get from the customer from a form, fit and function perspective really helped us get over that hurdle and get that part fixed for the customer and really deliver something that is really workable for him.