Logistics Management: Working in Partnership with Quality Fabrication Services
November 20, 2017
No matter how well a part is designed and manufactured, if it doesn’t get shipped on time and arrive in perfect condition, the result is an unhappy customer. Making sure this doesn’t happen is the responsibility of our Logistics Management Department.
Logistics today is so much more than just receiving raw materials and shipping finished goods. Freight management is only one piece of the puzzle. Our logistics process is a complex blend of time, space, communication, technology, human skills and ever-changing customer requirements. Success means coordinating each of these elements on deadline and sometimes on the fly.
Just fourteen years ago the department was basically only for small scale shipping and receiving. As our company grew though, so did the department’s volume, number of services, level of technology and attention to detail. The basic mission, however, remains the same. As Jennifer Torres, Logistics Manager, puts it, “It is our job to verify the part matches the customer specification, package the part the way the customer wants it, and ensure that the right part arrives when and where the customer needs it.”
The department also outsources semi-completed parts to 3rd party vendors for work, and then brings them back for finishing on a Just-in-Time (JIT) schedule. Other services provided include: kitting, lot sizing, inventory control, expedited shipping, warehousing of completed parts, safety stock planning and supply on demand.
All elements of delivery, from production floor to warehouse, have the ability to be tracked and transmitted electronically, including Advanced Ship Notification (ASN), bills of lading and invoicing. Internally, orders are tracked through our Electronic Resource Planning (ERP) software. A Freight Order Management (FOM) system lets us track spikes in upcoming orders, coordinate with our shipping partners and revise our employee schedules.
A new scanning system tracks the location of each container in the staging area so it can be found quickly if necessary to meet an immediate need on the customer’s part.
A Final Check
The Logistics Department is the final stop before parts are shipped and received by the customer. Packagers follow a series of best practices designed to catch any errors before the order is shipped. These include matching orders to parts to ensure it is the correct part, checking parts against print to make sure it has been manufactured correctly and a visual inspection for damage.
Packaging With Care
All of the packaging instructions, including how to ship the part, are printed on our work orders. Since each customer and each part has different needs, packagers review the packing instructions carefully to see if any updates or changes have been made since the last order.
If there are doubts, our logistics team has access to the customer’s database to guarantee they have the most recent instructions. Individual company codes, abbreviations and acronyms have to be learned and adhered to. Finally, we package the components carefully to protect against damage in transit. Any dents or dings can result in a rejected part.
We maintain partnerships with a variety of freight carriers including local cartage companies, expedited services such as UPS, and major truckload and less-than-truckload companies.
We literally ship components around the world to final destinations including Brazil, China, India and Mexico, among others. That means having the correct paperwork and documentation filled out for each individual country’s customs requirements.
For better securing of parts, we have recently purchased special strapping machines that wrap metal bands around the components and then melts the bands together, providing a tight fit.
Putting computers on mobile work carts and taking them to the containers in the warehouse may seem simple, but we found it saves a lot of time that was wasted walking back and forth. In addition, paperwork stays on the cart to ensure it is not laid down and misplaced.
“A combination of technology and human resources gives our Logistics Management Department the flexibility to communicate precisely and respond to customers’ changing needs quickly and accurately,” said Jennifer. “We pay strict attention to detail in order to serve our customers with maximum efficiency and minimum waste.”
If you would like to learn more about how our logistics capabilities can add value to your fabrication needs, please contact us.