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Making The Most of Product Lifecycles

It is an honor to know that a number of our customers have been a part of the Alexandria Industries’ family almost from the very beginning ‒ nearly 49 years ago. Because we have had longevity in our customer relationships, we have had many opportunities to improve on products that have spanned countless lifecycles.

From start-up processes and technology updates through new equipment and assembly procedures, we constantly look at our manufacturing processes to discover new ways to make a difference for our customers. Whether the opportunities are driven by our need or our customers' needs, we succeed only because we are able to work with our customers to improve on what we do.

In one example, a customer’s product used heavy and expensive wood container product packaging. When asked, the customer shared the rationale was to protect the product from freight damage. The open communication allowed us to fully understand what the customer's need was, and together, we worked to change the packaging to a lightweight corrugated cardboard container. The solution not only provided product protection, it also saved the customer nearly 25 percent in packaging costs, along with some freight transportation costs.

The same customer was able to benefit from other innovative ideas. One was to drill and tap multiple holes in their extruded product to eliminate the cost of expensive inserts needed for installing insets during the product assembly process.

The other was the opportunity to remove cost by reducing the number of operations in the product assembly process, which required a number of steps to join multiple components. After evaluating the steps involved, we determined a way to incorporate a one-piece flow assembly process where workers performed several related assembly tasks in less than half the time it took to use a batch assembly process where workers performed one assembly operation at a time. The one-piece flow assembly reduced product handling and assembly time.

assembly

A one-piece flow assembly process helps reduce product handling and assembly time.

In another example, we were able to transfer the principles of one-piece flow assembly on a customer order to reduce a significant amount of heavy lifting and increase production by approximately 250 percent.

To be the people to make it happen, to turn possibility into product faster and better than anyone, we constantly search for ways to improve on our services and capabilities. These achievements would not be possible if our goal was just to produce components that meet our customers’ specifications. Because of the open communication and the relationships we have developed, we have earned our customers’ trust to seek innovative solutions that go beyond their product development needs.