With product availability becoming an increasingly important issue facing the market, warehousing finished product is essential to guarantee on-time delivery and overall customer satisfaction. Yokogawa initiated the Quick Ship Program two years ago as a pilot program for limited product families to address the issue of the company’s standard 10-day lead-time from time of order. The program is now available in 2017 for all standard products, including pressure/temperature transmitters, flow meters and various analyzers.
“We were faced with the challenge of our products being shipped with a standard of 10 days because we incorporated the entire manufacturing process with our lead time,” says Steve Crews, Yokogawa General Manager for Customer Support, Global Logistics, and Warehousing. “We found that if we pre-built standard product to have sub-assemblies ready to go, we could shorten that lead time to meet a quicker ship date.”
Yokogawa’s 125,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility includes pressure, flow and analytical production lines. In 2016, several thousand pressure and flow transmitters and analytical products were assembled and shipped via the new program. The program incorporates the talents of more than 125 employees from various departments to ensure its success.
Since implementation, the standard lead time is now five days with the Quick Ship products being offered in two days. For the customer, this means they can expect reduced downtime in their operations and better cash flow, as they are able to receive a replacement product on a faster schedule. The quicker shipping options also allow a competitive advantage for Yokogawa.
“When we save the day, we earn trust with the customer so that we become a loyal and respected partner,” says Sam Hassan, Yokogawa Product Manager of Flow Products. “With a solid reputation, customers are likely to call us for any issues they may have in the future.”
The program is equally beneficial to Yokogawa. “When customers would request a product in two days that typically requires a two-week lead-time, we would have to negotiate from customer service to production control to manufacturing and back through that chain to get to the customer,” Steve says. “With an offering of two days, we’ve eliminated much of the back and forth so that it cuts down on order processing time.”
Immediate needs for products with lead times less than two days can be negotiated with the factory through the local sales representative if the two day lead time is not sufficient.
A demonstrated investment in the local marketplace is another important factor in the Quick Ship Program. Yokogawa’s process instruments are assembled in the US with local modification also available. US assembly allows local flexibility and investment in the local market. Yokogawa also manufactures and calibrates instruments in North America to expand the offering of quick shipping.
Yokogawa has made a series of other investments in its manufacturing facilities in an effort to support the Quick Ship initiative. Several adjustments were made to the way parts were kit for the sub-assemblies, which contributed to the overall faster shipping process. Time studies were conducted to evaluate how parts were moving back and forth from the storeroom to the production line. Yokogawa performed Quality Control Circles (QCC) on several of the production lines to eliminate wasted time, and ultimately helped to recognize the potential of quick shipping. The kitting process time was cut down by over 75%.
In conjunction with the Quick Ship Program, modifications have been made to the Yokogawa website to indicate eligible products.
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