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Agility: Sequenced Hose Challenge

In early 2018, we were approached with a new challenge: sequenced hose kits. Both sequences and hoses were not in our wheel house at the time. But the customer urgently needed help and we had the capacity, the opportunity, and most importantly, the will to help. We immediately gathered a team from Sales, Production, Quality, and IT to answer the question: what will it take to make this work? With curiosity and open minds, we worked closely with the customer and hose vendors to understand exactly what the challenge entailed. We prototyped a first end-to-end process and iteratively improved upon it. In a matter of weeks, we were ready to ship finished hose kits in sequence order! Business schools might look at this as a textbook case of business agility; for us it’s ingrained in our culture as doing what it takes to make our customers happy. The result: we successfully helped our customer in a critical situation and were awarded Supplier of the Year!

Not only did this benefit our customer, we also learned a lot. Expanding from fastener to hose kits and adding the ability to offer sequences caused us to reinvent our MRP (manufacturing resource planning). This became the new foundation for all our purchasing and production planning. We ended up with a system that the business users can readily understand that we can run practically real-time, allowing us to see how thousands of order changes affect our ability to ship good parts on time and react accordingly.

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