Supply Chain Lead Time Reduction
Supply chain managers know that one of the biggest impacts on inventory level is lead time. Developing strategies for lead time reduction should be one of your highest priorities. That said, some manufacturers struggle with maintaining visibility over their inventory, making it hard to control levels and manage lead time.
Extended lead times don’t just create inefficiencies when it comes to inventory levels. They also tie up your cash and storage space. Let’s say your lead time is 30 weeks, or about seven months. This means that in order to fulfill your own orders, you must carry over half a year’s inventory. You also need to ensure you have safety stock on hand, which increases costs all around.
You often see this with disorganized companies. Not only does it take weeks for them to process an order, but if they’re buying from an inefficient supplier, that increases lead time further—especially if they’re overseas. Now you aren't only looking at high prices; you're also looking at long waits.
Supply Chain Lead Time Reduction Strategies
Is your lead time larger than you’d like? You’re not alone. Many companies lack the resources to analyze inventory levels and create efficiencies that save time and money.
An experienced supply chain partner, like Birmingham Fastener Managed Inventory, can diagnose issues in your supply chain and develop strategies to improve processes and maximize profits. You can process orders quicker, optimize inventory levels and ensure you can get shipments out quickly. With an inventory management partner, can avoid overspending and stocking spare parts to free up storage space and your budget.
When it comes to reducing your supply chain lead time, consider these questions:
How long does it take to send an order to the supplier?
- Is it taking days or weeks for your team to review orders? Why? Finding ways to reduce review time is essential to lead reduction.
How long does it take your supplier to ship your products?
- In addition to your own review time, your supplier has a review time, too. They also have to manufacture and package your orders. This isn’t in your control, but that makes it even more critical that you have suppliers that you trust. Find a supplier that is committed to being your partner, not just another provider.
How long is delivery time?
- Understanding how shipping costs relate to your bottom line is essential. While you want to save as much money as possible, you should also consider your return on investment and total cost of ownership. Sometimes the high price for expedited shipping is worth it.
When it comes to answering these questions, you need maximum data visibility. While some companies struggle with this, others enter into valuable partnerships with experts they can trust. If you’re looking to reduce lead time, consider a team of experts who can create efficiencies in your supply chain and save you money.
Misaligned Anchor Bolt Issues
Misaligned anchor bolts can be a major headache. Many industries use anchor bolts to attach structural elements, commonly steel, to concrete to ensure stability. One end is embedded into concrete, while the other is attached to the steel structure. Anchor bolt installation requires accuracy, but sometimes anchor bolts are misaligned during installation. This problem can be extremely difficult to fix, but the question remains: can you fix a misaligned anchor bolt?
As with most complex questions, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. There are many questions to consider when determining whether a misaligned anchor bolt can be fixed:
- When was the problem noticed?
- Is the entire anchor bolt pattern misaligned?
- Have you consulted your land surveyor and engineer?
It should be noted that the last question is most important. When something goes wrong on the jobsite, constant communication is critical. You may be more concerned about acting quickly before the concrete sets the anchor bolts, but communicating with experts should always be your first line of defense.
Quick tip: Surveyors and field engineers are excellent for supervising bolt placement, and some will even place anchor bolts for you. Finding a well-respected land surveyor and field engineer for your next project is a great way to avoid errors on the jobsite.
Setting an Anchor Bolt
To avoid misaligning an anchor bolt, it’s important to follow the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Code of Standard Practice and have technically-savvy team members on site. According to the AISC, a field survey of proposed anchor bolt locations must be performed before the steel is delivered. Having a team of well-trained experts scouting locations and installing the concrete helps avoid misaligned anchor bolts, downtime and unnecessary labor and expenses.
Remember the old adage “Measure twice, cut once?” This strategy also applies to steel construction. Keeping a careful eye on measurements ensures you don’t misalign your anchor bolts. Using a template can help with accuracy and ensure you’re using the right pattern prior to fixing it to the foundation. Approximating positions instead of accurately measuring will cause problems. Ensuring you have the right template in the right place is the best course of action.
Managing Misaligned Anchor Bolts
Misalignments do happen from time to time due to issues with installation. As we mentioned earlier, repair methods vary based on time, placement, and severity of the issue.
If you discover a misaligned anchor bolt before the column base plate has been installed, it could be possible to use a different pattern or plate. This is ultimately the engineer’s decision, so it is critical to consult an engineer when problems arise. If the anchor bolt is misaligned after the column has been set, you can typically slot the base plate and use a plate washer to span said slot.
If the anchor bolts are majorly misaligned (more than a few inches), an engineer may decide to cut off the rods and drill in anchor rods and use epoxy that aligns with your area’s building code. An engineer should be careful to ensure the foundation hasn’t been compromised if going this route.
Ultimately, if you find misaligned anchor bolts during your installation process, communication with experts is the number one priority. Your engineers will be able to troubleshoot the issue and determine whether repairs are possible. For more information, always refer to guides and regulations from the AISC.
On-Site Fastener Testing Lab
Birmingham Fastener is fortunate to have an in-house fastener testing lab focused on ensuring the quality of both our manufactured and distributed products. Our lab helps you meet regulations and provide knowledge of each type of fastener’s composition and limits.
Our dedicated experts strive for excellence each day to provide fast turnaround testing services to our facilities. We pride ourselves on being ISO 17025:2017 certified. This international standard lays out the criteria for testing and calibration laboratories to establish a quality management system. Our fastener testing lab has met every criteria within this standard to help guarantee your fasteners are expertly tested each day.
Having an ISO certified fastener testing lab on site has enabled us to increase efficiency across operations. Instead of having to wait days to receive testing results, we have the capability to test and ship our products on the same day to get you your products faster.
Our lab services include:
- Wedge Tensile*
- Axial Tensile*
- Proof Load*
- Hardness (HRB and HRC - Core and Surface)
- Rotational Capacity (½”- 1 ½”)
- Smooth Steel and Rebar (11/32” to 1 1/2” diameter)
*1/2” to 1-1/2” Bolts UNC 2A Threads & 5/8” to 1-1/2” All-thread or Double End Rods UNC 2A Threads*
At Birmingham Fastener, we take great care in ensuring you receive safe, quality fasteners for your projects. Having an on-site testing lab allows us to take ownership of our quality and ensure our products meet all standards.
What is the 5S System or the Five Lean Principles?
As lean manufacturing experts using the 5S system, Birmingham Fastener can help your OEM or other business maximize efficiency and reduce wasteful spending by optimizing your inventory levels and developing an inventory management strategy.
The 5S System, or the Five Lean Principles, started as a manufacturing methodology to improve management. Other industries have discovered that the five principles can be leveraged to improve any business. Let’s discuss how our vendor managed inventory service, Birmingham Fastener Managed Inventory (BFMI) uses the 5S System when developing the best strategy for your business.
1. Defining Value
The first step to taking a lean approach to inventory management is recognizing what value your business offers your customers. Understanding the value of your product, how it serves your customers, and its importance is vital. This tells you how much a customer will pay and what the true need is for each product.
BFMI can help you identify the value of your inventory and help you keep a constant stock of your most valuable products, while trimming the fat of your less valuable products. Not only does this eliminate waste and free up storage space, but this also helps you allocate your budget and be able to continuously replenish valuable product.
2. Mapping the Value Stream
The value stream identifies all activities that contribute to the value of your product. When we map the value stream, we’re looking at each step of production, from manufacturing and stocking to packaging and shipping. We work with you to understand the product’s cycle and identify areas where there is no connection to the end value. From there, we help you eliminate unnecessary steps in your supply chain to maximize efficiency and reduce waste. This also provides increased value to your customer by expediting orders.
3. Creating Flow
Once we identify and map value, we create a sensible, efficient workflow that streamlines processes and improves your production process. BFMI can help you create and implement strategies that ensures productivity throughout your operation. This could include reverse engineering, creating cross-functional teams, and using both real-time and historical data to identify areas of improvement.
4. Establishing a Pull
Mismanaging your inventory often results in wasted space, wasted resources, and wasted money. To avoid dead stock and help you maximize a return on investment, BFMI focuses on LEAN inventory management practices.
Rather than a push-system where you have a massive overstock of items that takes up space in your warehouse, a pull based vendor managed inventory (VMI) system allows you to balance supply and demand. We help keep inventory levels optimal by studying your business and learning what quantity levels should be maintained for each item.
5. Pursuing Perfection
Once we have implemented strategies to eliminate wasteful stock, optimize inventory levels, and improve your total cost of ownership (TCO), we work to perpetuate perfection and help you maintain a lean system. Working with a partner like BFMI provides peace of mind by continually monitoring progress and productivity to ensure your business continues progressing.
Our results speak for themselves. BFMI helps partners improve their TCO by 10-30%, specifically in areas including:
- Purchase volume
- Freight consumption
- Inventory footprint
- Vendor consolidation
- Working capital improvement
We offer immediate solutions to our customers’ supply chains, and we look forward to helping you apply these five lean principles to your business.