Slagel Manufacturing using Zontec’s Synergy SPC software
Slagel Manufacturing is a specialized fabrication and welding shop serving multiple industries with an emphasis on the agriculture equipment market. In business since 1993, Slagel’s dedication to quality is apparent at every step of their manufacturing processes. Their experienced and knowledgeable designers and fabricators take a holistic approach, working with clients to manage product development from the design phase through machine shop work to final product. “We utilize CAD design, laser cutting, welding, forming and fabrication for a host of industries” said Houston Jones, Quality Manager for Slagel.
Recognizing the Problem
Jones had been successfully leading quality for one year and in 2015, recognized an opportunity to gain new business and advance their company’s quality policy, which states a mandate to “continually improve the effectiveness of our quality management system”. Jones, who has a deep background in statistical analysis, was also eager to move the quality initiative from a ‘costsaving exercise’ to a ‘business-winning exercise.’
“An established luminary client came to us to partner on pushing out a new product line,” said Jones. The line would require more stringent tolerances, repeatability, and precision than Slagel was used to producing. If they settled for monitoring quality the way they always had, there was good chance that the project would fail.
The Search for a Solution
Jones knew that SPC software would be the perfect tool to help. His main criteria in an SPC software product was ease of implementation, user friendliness, and promise of a quicker ROI. SynergySPC was the perfect solution. Above all, it was the easiest to train employees on. “We are a relatively small shop. So early on we had limited training and understanding among the team in term of real statistical interpretation. We were able to get information up and act on it more quickly.”
“It was an easy sell for the owners since we knew we’d have thousands of dollars in scrap the first month alone while trying to fi gure out if we could make the parts for the customer. Additionally, we knew we could take advantage of SynergySPC’s investment protection program to help us as we grow.” [They purchased Synergy 1000, but have the option to upgrade to the more robust Synergy 2000 as they grow and Zontec will apply their original purchase price to the new software.]
Easy implementation and set up is a hallmark of SynergySPC and Slagel’s experience was no different. “Anything that wasn’t clearly intuitive was taught during our one day software orientation. Additionally, I used the web based help resources, which had quick response time and great results.” said Jones.
The results were quickly apparent. Jones was able to capture real-time data for his fixtures and do capability studies. “One part in particular was a significant challenge for our team. We were scrapping about 30% on a part that cost several hundred dollars. We’ve virtually eliminated that scrap.”
“Another part we measured consistently 15 percent out of specification. We were able to move it from .3334 Ppk to .74. We were scrapping 15 percent and we’ve got that down to 1 percent. Our goal is +4s on most dimensions and we are approaching 6s on others. We would have never been able to get there without seeing it on the software.”
Jones plans to benchmark what he’s done thus far to improve and win new business with other OEM products. “It’s our poster child for process improvement in this facility. We’ll prove our capabilities and use it as a springboard for new business. The operators are quite intrigued with what this can do for us.”
Jones and his team have become big fans of the results of Synergy SPC. “I’d specifically recommend for small businesses to utilize SPC to manufacture better products. The Synergy 1000 makes statistics and analysis affordable, understandable, and actionable for a relatively modest-sized company like ours.”