Incorporated in 1970, Fastco Industries manufactures special fasteners from its 150,000 square foot facilities in Walker, Michigan. Serving a customer base in West Michigan, Fastco also supplies products to the Midwest, Canada, and Mexico. While predominately a supplier of automotive fasteners, Fastco also has key customers in the office furniture, appliance, and recreational vehicle industries.
Dedicated to continual improvement, 100% on time delivery, and zero defects, Fastco Industries is committed to meeting and exceeding its customer’s expectations in quality and delivery. With a wide range of cold headers, thread rollers, and secondary machining equipment, Fastco is uniquely qualified to provide a wide range of special fasteners.
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“Fastco Industries has a brand promise of 5 weeks or less on new samples on standard designs. Fastco is also known for making difficult products that others in our industry will not attempt, and are excelling at them,” said Brian Kropp, Quality Control Manager for Fastco Industries.
For 10 years, Fastco met its Cost of Poor Quality (CoPQ) metric of .4% of sales. Unfortunately, for a few years afterward this quality metric was not met. This resulted in a management change and a concerted effort to change its culture.
“Since implementing Synergy SPC software, we have met our CoPQ metric as a % of sales. In the last 2 consecutive years we have lowered the CoPQ each year. In 2013, the CoPQ was reduced from the .4% to .37% and met for the rolling average of the year. In 2014, the CoPQ goal was again lowered to .35% % of sales and we have met this goal 6 of 8 months.”
— Brian Kropp, Quality Control Manager for Fastco Industries.
“Specialty parts require specialty tools and training. Synergy has allowed us to maintain or identify areas that need improvement and plan for training, improved or more accurate measurement tools, and helped bring Fastco from an outdated paper-based system to a live state of the art manufacturing facility,” remarked Kropp.
Fastco has approximately 5900 prints on file for separate parts. Of these approximately 1500~1800 are active parts within a yearly time frame. Of each of these parts, some have multiple production departments and steps, i.e. cold forming forms the part, secondary may do some pointing, or drilling to make holes, thread roll creates threads on a cold headed blank, and inspection checks parts in from outside processes.
“Synergy has helped us to maintain a standardization of measurement, reduce variation in operator to gage, and gage to part variation. Synergy has helped to bring operator awareness of SPC, and how it can be used by seeing live charting results as they enter data instead of just numbers on a piece of paper that is filed to satisfy a customer,” remarked Kropp. “Synergy’s data entry also utilizes alert detection to operators. If an operator enters an out-of-specification, dimension, or typo, the program will recognize this and a pop-up will warn operators of the mistaken or out-of-specification entry. One of the improved training programs Fastco is implementing is a yearly Synergy training refresher course for all operators.”
Fastco also uses the Keyence Vision System with Synergy. “The Keyence Vision System is a measurement tool. It provides measurements in seconds that you would normally have to use 2 to 3 other measurement tools for. We can import these dimensions into Synergy. Most people are very impressed with it, as I was,” said Kropp.
Due to SynergySPC software, Fastco was able to identify large areas that needed improvement, such as operator measurement techniques and variation in product. “As an example, a part is running within control for 2 days on day shift, and a 3rd shift is now running the part. For the 3rd shift, every measurement is out-of-control and quite different than the average entries of the day shift. When day shift came back in, measurements showed in control and met the previous average. This showed us that an operator on 3rd shift needed more training, and or standardization of the use of the gage, or gage technique,” explained Kropp.
Kropp also likes Synergy’s flexible reporting system. “Synergy has the ability to create many types of charts, for tracking, monitoring and review. These charts can be populated with raw production data in any number of ways to tailor a chart or report to the current or requested needs. This gives Fastco an advantage to be able to supply dimensional history (raw data or a report) of a part to a customer within minutes of the request,” said Kropp.