Success Stories Contents:
- New customer with Short Lead Time and an International Focus
- Team 1 China Parts
- Continuous Improvement Yields Significant Profit Increase
- Financial Stability in Economic Crisis
- Design Change on New Part Leading to a Completely Different Part Under Tight Timing
- Light Guide Development
- New Program Launch Crisis
- Bankrupt Competitor Transfer Program
New customer with Short Lead Time and an International Focus
Team 1 worked to supply a critical part for a customer based in France within the 6 week 1st shot timing necessary for a successful product launch. To accomplish this, Team 1:
- Developed a sample mold in South Korea
- Sent the 1st shot samples to France for testing by the customer
- Shipped the sample to the U.S. for assembly
- Delivered the final product to Mexico for final installation
Even with the delays normally associated with international communication and shipping, Team 1 was able to meet the tight deadline that the customer needed for a successful launch.
Team 1 China Parts
Team 1 originally was sourced two different sets of interior lenses for a German customer located in Indiana. When this customer declared bankruptcy, Team 1 helped coordinate the transfer of both sets of lens to a new Canadian customer located in Michigan. Under pricing pressures from the customer they decided to move the final assembly that included these sets of lenses to their China location, but decided to stay with Team 1 because of the high visual quality requirements for the lenses. Team 1:
- Worked closely with them building safety stock along with meeting production requirements during the transfer of the assembly to China
- Supplied both sets of lens from Michigan to China for the remaining life of the program
Continuous Improvement Yields Significant Profit Increase
Team 1 is dedicated to continuous improvement in their processes. They have taken numerous steps to ensure that they move forward in the plastic injection business:
- TS16949 certified
- Cross functional weekly meetings focus on product launch, corrective actions, and continuous improvement
- Committed to automation and information systems
- Invested over $1.0 million over a ten year period to reduce their production staff by over 45 team members and total company staff by over 75 team members
As a result of all of these efforts to improve their processes, operating profit/production rose by over 300% and reduced debt/equity by over 75%.
Financial Stability in Economic Crisis
During the recession of 2009 Team 1 experienced sales reductions of 60% in 1st quarter and 50% in 2nd quarter of 2009. Fortunately, Team 1 had been profitable in 2008 and had a strong balance sheet with cash in the bank and low debt at the end of 2008. By making difficult but necessary cost reductions, Team 1 managed to break-even with severely reduced sales levels. By the 2nd half of 2009 they returned to profitability and ended the year in the black! Throughout the crisis, they maintained a cash balance to avoid using their line of credit and kept their core team together so that they could quickly react to customer requests or other opportunities.
Design Change on New Part Leading to a Completely Different Part Under Tight Timing
Team 1 was awarded a new electronic case that housed an antenna for the Toyota Sienna which required extremely tight tolerances on the antenna snap area along with a severe flatness requirement. Initial trials from the new mold showed that it would be extremely difficult to meet all the customer requirements. However:
- Team 1 was able to develop a process that involved an extended cycle time of over 90 seconds along with mold modifications to meet the customer specifications.
- During the development of the original case mold the customer determined that an additional case would be required. It was only 4 months to the model launch.
- Team 1 worked closely with the customer on the new design and was able to produce 1st shots of a new mold within 7 weeks from PO.
- The new case had all the similar tight tolerances required of the original case. Team 1 was able to make 3 mold modifications for the new case and meet all customer sampling requirements.
The end result was that Team 1 got both cases approved and met production launch timing.
Light Guide Development
A new light guide was awarded to Team 1 for the Toyota Tacoma heater control which involved a totally new concept. It had a very complex design that consolidated several light guides from the previous model into a single light guide. Timing issues forced the customer to build a production mold without building a prototype mold first! Team 1 worked with the customer to:
- Make the first shots after only 10 weeks from PO
- Build 5 iterations of the product, with many of them having over 200 dimensional changes to meet the customer requirements
- Find a way to eject without breaking or cracking the many different fingers on the complex part
- Meet all the customer dimensional requirements along with solving the ejection problem and successfully launch the new light guide on time
This part was extended on to future Tacoma models and will run over 10 years.
New Program Launch Crisis
Team 1 had quoted for a well established customer several parts for the new Toyota Tacoma heater control program during its development. At first, we were awarded only 1 part (see light guide story above) for production. However, as the program neared full launch their customer came to them concerned that their competitor would not be able to launch the following components: painted panel, painted light pipe, assembled knob using painted light pipe and purchased spring. The customer decided to pull these components from their competitor with only 1 month to full production launch. None of the molds were approved or capable of molding an acceptable part when they received them. Team 1 :
- Worked closely with the customer to get all molds approved without missing any production launch dates using the transferred molds.
- Developed new molds for the panel and light pipe while continuing to supply parts off the first molds over the first year of the program.
This program was extended on to the future Tacoma models and will run over 10 years in length with no further issues.
Bankrupt Competitor Transfer Program
Right before a Christmas holiday shutdown, one of Team 1’s well established customers contacted them in a panic. One of Team 1’s competitors had declared bankruptcy and was closing their doors by the end of the year. Within 24 hours, the team was within the customer’s facility reviewing the customer's molds and they managed to have all production and service molds moved to Team 1 within 2 days! A total of 10 production molds were transferred along with 5 service molds. Working closely with the customer Team 1 was able to get all production parts trialed, PPAP submitted and approved without any disruption to their production.