Benefits of a Line Walk/Answers
Since manufacturers usually have fastener experts in-house, several opportunities to improve efficiency go unnoticed.
For example, you may have several fastener suppliers dropping parts off at a dock. Someone must take each of those boxes to a central store. A runner or someone from the assembly line must walk to the central store to get the parts needed and walk them back to their point of use. That’s a lot of time spent on a low-value task rather than assembling components.
Another positive outcome that often surfaces is identifying opportunities to reduce cost by consolidating the amount of part numbers your company needs to buy, administer and handle. If we can simplify how parts are acquired, by consolidating the number of parts or suppliers providing them or supplying them as a kit, you’ll need to use less floor space and supporting resources, which can then be reallocated to other high-value tasks.
One recommendation we recommend often is setting up racks near your high-volume points of use so your operators can continue working instead of going back and forth for parts every shift.
Each conversation generates new ideas, creating better thought processes, and establishing open communication between partners. In turn, one line walk sets the foundation for valuable visits for years to come.
Optimas customers are accustomed to seeing our team members on their shop floor because line walks are a natural part of our service relationship. Many even have a dedicated Optimas engineer on-site as part of their distribution program. Others often say, “You’re my fastener guys. Get in here and help us make some changes.”
As a full-service distributor, Optimas can bring your supply chain closer to you. Instead of buying from many suppliers, some of whom are located overseas which comes with long lead times, we help manufacturers look at their entire fastener investment holistically.
Tricks and tools of the trade
Since many customers don’t have an easy way to access their latest BOMs for parts, we often recommend implementing an internal parts database with part numbers, descriptions, and drawings, this reduces SKU and supplier proliferation and provides a single repository for necessary deviations within the fastener category.
OptiTech Solutions use the latest technology to automate inventory replenishment, saving customers time and money and ensuring consistency. Manufacturers no longer need to send someone around the plant every day to counts parts in bins or remember to reorder parts before (or, more likely, when) they run out.
Our engineers use SolidWorks 3D printing for prototyping and to improve the form, fit, and function of parts proposed or already in use. We also leverage BoltCalc, a program from Bolt Science, designed to provide joint simulations for torque tension and part viability.
In the production cycle, fasteners aren’t always well documented. For varied reasons, parts in use are different from what was specified. In these cases, we can provide a part-to-print review by getting the company’s prints, reviewing their parts, and comparing the design against the reality.