In an ideal world, there would more than enough time to have everything needed for your production schedule well in advance. But, no matter the industry, there are inevitably those times when you are up against a deadline, or even worse, past it.
We recently worked with a firm whose client was in a bind. They were facing serious down-time on a job site for new construction, and they need parts - fast. This happens to be my favorite part of the sales process: taking a tough problem and finding an optimal solution. Here’s what we did.
A construction crew for a building project could not proceed without some specialty tracks and brackets. We’ll never know the total dollar amount on the line, but it was certainly motivating enough to waive expedite fees, overtime and overnight shipping charges.
We were asked to cut, form, and powder coat thousands of specialty brackets and tracks for their installation on an incredibly tight turnaround: less than 5 business days. This would require us to coordinate efforts among the client, suppliers, our internal production, finishing, logistics, and shipping.
To overcome this challenge, internal capabilities were only half of the answer. Naimor has developed excellent relationships with both suppliers and finishing shops throughout our local region, and it was the only way we could make this happen in time. But as you can imagine, there were bumps along the way.
The first hiccup came from the powder coating color choice. The color and finish specified by the architect was a specialty paint that had a minimum 3-week lead time to get, which was simply not an option. Luckily, they had alternatives readily available.
We were able to get a shipping label from our client to the powder coaters, have them overnight samples of the alternatives, and the end user then decided which route to go based on look and cost. With all the parameters defined, we proceeded to production.
Being a metal shop, we order material regularly, and lots of it. We were able to get what we needed next-day while the powder color was being determined. We then adjusted our schedule and added shifts to make the parts. Operator knowledge and skill was a must here, as there was no time for re-dos.
Once completed and inspected, down to powder coating they went. They were expecting them and had blocked off an expedited run for us. We picked them up Thursday afternoon, as they were due to ship out Friday for a delivery Monday morning.
This is where the next hiccup occurred: shipping. Even with the inflated budget, shipping 4 skids for a Monday morning delivery proved to be too cost-prohibitive. We presented options, and the client decided to have us break the pallets down and pack them in boxes for a FedEx shipment. The driver’s eyes bulged a bit when he saw all the boxes sitting on a large pallet in our shop!
No one likes to be in a situation where they’re behind schedule, but it happens. We learned how to appropriately budget shop time and coordinate with several involved parties, and we even surprised ourselves a bit when we were able to make this come together.
While I would never recommend getting yourself into a tight timeline, it’s good to know that there are ways to pull it off if you have the right team in place. As for me, it’s back on the hunt for the next problem to solve!