COMP Cams , Memphis, Tennessee

Company History
While the COMP Performance Group™ has grown to multiple companies and hundreds of employees, we still retain the competitive spirit and desire to be the very best and this has positioned COMP Cams® as the absolute leader in valve train components.
COMP Cams® was founded in 1976 and is currently owned by Ron Coleman. We currently operate with more than 30 machines and employ over 250 employees. For over 32 years COMP Cams® mission has never changed. It has always been to produce the highest-performing products possible, and to lead the industry in technological development while providing superior service to our customers.

Inventory Management
We have over 100 people that use tooling on a regular basis. This can become overwhelming at times to say the least. Just keeping up with products on a daily basis that are needed to keep production running was becoming an enormous challenge. We began to take a look at what we could do to gain control over our inventory and what might be a solution to managing it. So we began to look at some plausible options and considered several possibilities such as consignment as well as other vendor based solutions. Then we began to consider changes in our inventory management by performing weekly inventory or having our tool crib managed by supplier. After exploring our options we decided that the only solution was tool vending. That being said we were faced with several vending options. We considered a couple of vending machines such as Auto Crib, and Cribmaster before deciding to go with the Matrix by Iscar. The ease at which the Matrix controls and monitors inventory while controlling usage was a key element in selecting the Matrix, not to mention its software being one of the most user friendly interfaces available.

Matrix Experience
The Matrix has not only been able to control and manage my inventory it has also saved me time and space. I was able to do away with four cabinets and put all of it into the Matrix machine. I no longer have to take time to create spreadsheets and charts, or create graphs. Nor do I have to take the time to open a cabinet every time an employee needs tooling or supplies. This frees up my time and enables me to be more productive in my job while at the same time my employees are able to be more productive at theirs because they can get what they need when they need it instead of wasting time looking for me to open a cabinet. Since the Matrix can manage inventory I can go to the Matrix-TM Manage software at any time and create instant up to the minute reports in real time. The Matrix helped me to save cost in more than one way, but I was most surprised to find that my biggest savings was in gloves. That's right, shop gloves. My glove usage was through the roof. Instead of keeping up with their gloves, employees would just get a new pair. This was becoming quite the nightmare. With the Matrix I was able to set usage limits on items and therefore I was able to reduce the cost of shop gloves by half. Where I was spending $300 plus a month on gloves has now been reduced to only $150 a month.

So in conclusion, let me say that since the purchase of the Matrix vending machine by Iscar, it has not only become an asset to COMP Cams® but has become a solution to our inventory management problem. While being able to manage inventory and produce multiple types of reports it has also allowed us to save space and cut costs. In short it has allowed us to see an increase in production as well as a decrease in purchasing. This together with Iscar's excellent technical support and customer service has made this the solution to our inventory management needs.
Dane Hamric
Purchasing Agent
Comp Performance Group
Memphis, TN 38118

Holmatro Inc., Glen Burnie, Maryland Matrix Helping Holmatro Save Lives

Company History
Rudi Wessels is the founder of Holmatro Inc. The company was founded in 1967. He started the company by manufacturing industrial equipment. This equipment was utilized in the production of ships. As the company grew, so did the aspirations of mister Wessels. Progressively, the design and manufacturing of fire rescue equipment as well as marine equipment evolved. Today, Holmatro Inc. has 4 facilities throughout the world.
Holmatro Inc. is the world leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of the only UL Listed and NFPA-1936 compliant hydraulic rescue tools. Holmatro, Inc. is an ISO 9002 Registered company located in Glen Burnie, MD and has manufacturing capacities in three factories on two continents manufacturing a full line of hydraulic rescue tools, heavy lifting equipment, pneumatic lifting bags, and shoring equipment. In addition, Holmatro typically maintains significant amounts of equipment available for emergency deployment 24/7.
It is the goal and philosophy of Holmatro Inc. to provide high quality products and services that meet or exceed the expectations of our customers. Our professional, motivated and innovative staff are considered the companies most valuable asset. We continually strive to satisfy customer requirements by providing quality, cost effective solutions. Each employee is encouraged to improve the processes throughout the organization with these goals in mind.

Tool Management Issues
Here at Holmatro's Maryland facility, we were having an increasing problem in regard to tooling shortages. While our primary focus was on gaining control and having the ability to improve management of inventory, we found that we were increasingly ordering tooling and having it shipped second day, or in some instances next day, in order to have the tooling necessary to complete production. This was becoming quite costly to say the least. Due to the urgency of gaining control of our situation we initially considered adding more personnel. However after further consideration we felt that this just wasn't the solution. So we began to consider other options such as tool vending. We took a close look at several tool vending systems on the market such as Tool Boss and Crib Wear and the Matrix. After careful consideration we felt that the Matrix by Iscar was clearly the solution for us. There were several factors that made the Matrix the obvious choice including software, cabinet design as well as the support personnel.

The Matrix Difference
We started using the Matrix in December of 2007. Since implementing the Matrix we have been able to save time and increase productivity. We have seen a time savings of 520 hours a year. The time saved has been due to better organization in our tooling inventory as well as a reduction in time spent by employees looking for tooling. This together with eliminating stock shortages due to improved management of tooling has lead to higher productivity. This higher productivity is reflected in additional machine production time valued at $108K a year. The Matrix contributed to the increase production time value by also allowing employees to pay closer attention to how they were using tooling and where the tools were being used as well as when they were making tooling changes resulting in better CPU (Cost Per Unit). With the increase in productivity bundled together with the huge savings in shipping cost due to not having stock outs and thus not having to use next day shipping to get the tooling we needed. We were surprised at how fast the Matrix machine was able to pay for itself. Holmatro was able to pay for the Matrix in less than a year.

So after having tooling management problems we selected the Matrix by Iscar primarily because of cabinet design, ease of software use and their outstanding technical support personnel. With the Matrix we were able to manage our tooling inventory more efficiently than ever before. We saved time and money, enabling us to increase our productivity to a higher level. And best of all, we saved money on shipping costs due to not having stock shortages and thus resulting in the Matrix cabinet being paid for in just several months.
Chuck Cain
Manufacturing Engineer
Holmatro Inc.
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Iowa Machinery & Supply, Des Moines, IA

Below are excerpts from an article that appeared in the November/December 2008 issue of Progressive Distributor. Copyright 2008. By Rich Vurva

Uncommon loyalty
In a highly competitive market, Iowa Machinery & Supply discovers that loyalty to suppliers results in loyal customers.
Iowa Machinery believes that exhibiting loyalty to suppliers does more than just earn stronger support from those major vendors. It also translates into more loyal customers. Focusing their efforts on a handful of key suppliers enables sales and application specialists to spend more time helping customers improve their manufacturing or machining processes and less time shopping.
For the strategy to work, it’s imperative to be aligned with best-in-class suppliers, says company president Darrell Randall. “We’re not just peddling products. We’re out there solving problems. It’s all part of the total package. We’ve got to be smart enough to make sure we’re working for customers who understand that we can help them make their end product better, cheaper, faster. It’s not about the low price,” he says.

Tool management
Although Iowa Machinery is considered the preferred supplier for about 18 companies – and has taken on crib management responsibilities for those customers – it has chosen not to bid on major integrated supply accounts.
The company recently installed an automated tool vending system for a customer with 25 CNC machining centers. The system eliminated the open bin approach used previously, which resulted in machine operators hoarding inserts and other tools at their work stations. Since installing Iscar’s Matrix automated tool-dispensing system, inventory decreased as operators burned off supplies hidden in tool boxes. “Once they knew it was in the machine and they could count on it being there, they began to trust the system and didn’t hoard inventory,” says DeBoef. “Now, they’re grabbing one insert or one box of inserts instead of stocking up on just-in-case inventory.” The Matrix software automatically triggers reorders when inventory reaches a predetermined min./max. level, and DeBoef stocks the machine weekly. Like most companies today, employees at the machining shop wear several hats. Since the CNC programmer was also responsible for placing orders and generating quotes for new jobs, the Matrix system freed up his time. He can now focus on programming and quoting jobs instead of writing purchase orders. Initially, the new system resulted in a reduction in orders because the customer now has a more accurate understanding of its real tool usage. Randall believes the company has been successful for more than 100 years because of an insistence on doing what's right for the customer.

Quality Machine Services, Broussard, Louisiana

Company History
Quality Machine Services LLC was founded in January of 2002. We are a small job shop with 12 machines and about 20 employees. Here at Quality Machine we primarily manufacture downhole components for oilfield supply companies, however being a job shop we are constantly manufacturing a wide range of diverse products for various companies. Quality Machine is currently owned by a few individual businessmen who together share a single vision. That is to simply manufacture the highest quality parts and delivering them on time, while providing excellent customer service.

Inventory Management
Inventory management is an issue that all business must deal with regardless of size. Here at Quality Machine we are no different. We struggled with organization as well as managing inventory. We found that we no longer could continue to manage our inventory the same as we had in the past. So we began to discuss options that would help us gain control. We considered hiring a full time tool crib attendant to manage and control our inventory, but this would be an ongoing cost for the company. So we wanted to find some way to keep costs down while at the same time still being able to manage our inventory. So after discussing with our distributor what our needs and goals were they recommended a tool vending machine. The machine that was recommended by our distributor was the Matrix by Iscar.

Matrix Experience
Once we got the Matrix machine in and installed we were able to see a difference in our inventory management immediately. As we started getting our tools together to place into the Matrix we began to notice the amount of space we were able to save. After getting our tooling into the Matrix we were left with 4 empty Lista Cabinets. The Matrix is so user friendly that our employees are able to issue what they need without any assistance, which has enabled us to increase productivity. We have also been able to save a substantial amount of time when it comes to tooling issue and ordering. The Matrix keeps track of tooling usage so it is able to reorder stock once minimum levels have been reached. We were able to save on tooling items themselves as well due primarily in part to traceability.

“Quality Machine Services has had the Matrix in operation since October of 2008 and have noticed the greatest impact on tool availability. The way the Matrix manages the use of items works perfect for our shop. Using the pictures as reference makes it easy to use for everyone in the shop. We have also noticed a decrease in tool spending due to the accuracy of the management.”
JD Hurst
Manufacturing / Purchasing Manager
Quality Machine Services
Broussard, Louisiana

Ekets Mekaniska, Eket, Sweden

CTMS tool cabinets keep the company's tools and tool purchasing in order at Ekets Mekaniska.
Since the Matrix cabinets were put into operation one year ago, no tool orders have been missed and the Works Manager saves at least an hour a day in reduced administration.
When Christer Svensson, Works Manager at Ekets Mekaniska, saw the Matrix cabinets at a trade fair, he knew immediately that this was exactly what his company needed.
"A prerequisite for doing a good job is being surrounded by orderliness. I'd looked at other tool cabinets, but their drawers had open compartments. In this situation, there's always the risk of taking the wrong tool by mistake. Only the relevant compartment is opened in the Matrix cabinet. That's exactly how we want it," he says.
Ekets Mekaniska is located in Eket, in the southern part of Sweden. The company has two manufacturing units in the area and 140 employees. In 2007, turnover amounted to approximately 180 million Swedish kronor(~$23,000,000). Its customers are internationally successful manufacturers of hydraulic components such as Parker, Haldex, Komatzu, Atlas Copco, etc.
Its quality objective is zero defects - an extremely tough objective considering that the parts are more often than not, small and complicated with tolerance levels that are measured in thousandths of a millimeter.
The company has a good sixty lathes, ten machining centers and special machines for finishing work. Thousands of different articles are machined annually in varying batch sizes. Hence, there is a wide variety of tools.

Missed Tool Orders
Christer Svensson explains that tool management used to be unwieldy, to say the least. In addition to the machine operators' own inventories for the machines, there were seven different tool storage rooms. Christer was responsible for a few of them.
"I devoted at least an hour a day to tool administration. The machine operators used to queue outside my room when they needed to collect new tools. There was a lot of legwork and sometimes we were completely out of cutting tools because we forgot to order," he explains.
Ekets Mekaniska purchased its first Matrix cabinets over a year ago. More have been ordered, but have yet to be delivered. According to Christer Svensson, perhaps even more will be purchased in the future.
"In the beginning, I was afraid that the staff would consider use of the cabinets to be complicated. The result was the opposite. The machine operators collected their own tools and requested that they be put into the Matrix too," he says.

IT Manager Turned Tool Pro
The Matrix cabinets are connected to the company network. The IT Manager, Lars-Erik Nilsson, is responsible for installing the program and for how the tools are arranged in the cabinets - order points, etc. - an assignment that has turned him into a tool pro.
"I've had to learn how the machine operators work with the tools, how quickly various tools are renewed, what they look like and which suppliers we cooperate with," he says.
Lars-Erik Nilsson demonstrates what the machine operators do when they collect a new cutting tool. The search for tools can be done in various ways. The easiest way is to read the barcode on the tool's original package, using a barcode reader. If there is no barcode, a search can be done on article number, name or supplier or by simply typing in what you are looking for. It is enough to type in the first few characters of a word or name in order to trigger the intuitive search engine. Sometimes, pictures are used to find a tool. There is a card index on top of the cabinet with pictures designed to facilitate the search for the various tools. You may believe that computerised tool cabinets make machine operators less involved in the tool selection process, but according to Lars-Erik Nilsson it is quite the contrary.
"The machine operators use the pictures to compare the characteristics of similar cutting tools. And, if a tool is backorder listed, another tool that has a similar appearance or label can be tried," he explains.
Once the machine operator has selected the tool, the correct drawer and compartment are automatically opened. The registration of a withdrawal is done manually on the cabinet's built-in touch screen. The two cabinets at Ekets Mekaniska stand next to each other and a common touch screen is used for both cabinets. In total, there are 640 compartments with space for various tools.

Fifteen minutes a day

The amount of time needed for tool administration at Ekets Mekaniska has substantially decreased since the Matrix cabinets were installed. Now, it takes about fifteen minutes a day to insert new tools in the compartments. The cabinet takes care of the rest itself. Each type of tool has a minimum stock level established in advance. When the number of tools in the compartment drops below this level, Matrix automatically sends an order out to the relevant supplier. "It's a smart piece of software. If the use of a tool decreases or increases over time, the system automatically adjusts the minimum level to the new conditions," explains Lars-Erik Nilsson. The Matrix program contains functions for the adjustment of authorisation levels so the machine operators can avoid displaying any irrelevant data on the screen and reduce the risk of error in the system. At Ekets Mekaniska, only the IT Manager is allowed to make changes to the program, issue authorisation, add and remove tool data and modify the cabinet layout. All activities are logged into the system's database. It clearly shows who did what and when. The database is also a good source of statistics that can be used when negotiating with suppliers and customers. When asked if he has any good advice for anyone else purchasing a tool cabinet, Christer Svensson says that they should carefully think about the cabinet's layout first before making an order. It is important to take stock of the size and use of the tools so the sizes of the compartments will be sufficient. "We regularly buy tools from seven different suppliers. Since we've had the Matrix cabinets, we've not been without cutting tools once," he says.

Metaltech Precision, Somerset, UK

The cost of buying metalcutting tools has been slashed by one fifth at Chard subcontractor, Metaltech Precision, resulting in a monthly saving of around $1300. Whereas 400 different types of tools were previously used, rationalisation has cut this to 250. In parallel with expenditure going down, productivity has increased due to more appropriate tool selection and the use of IMC tools, which are delivering faster cycle times. Contributing further to higher production output is a marked reduction in machine idle time.
All this follows the installation of two computer-controlled Matrix tools stores, provided by West Country Tools to house indexable inserts, solid carbide cutters and toolholders. The stores are managed by local IMC supplier, West Country Tools, under a commodity and tool management service that involves the integrated supply of all tooling to Metaltech, including the minority sourced from suppliers other than IMC. The improvement to Metaltech’s bottom line is considerable, helped further by two benefits in addition to the lower monthly expenditure on tooling. First, there was a windfall saving of $13,000 in the first few months, while the stock of cutters that the subcontractor owned were transferred to the Matrix stores and issued on free vend. Second, while 10 man-hours were previously spent reordering and managing tooling stock levels manually, just two hours are now needed. CNC turning section supervisor, Steve Larcombe, who is responsible for managing all of the lathe tooling, said, “We used to have 400 numbered plastic bins containing between five and 20 inserts each and I had to open every one regularly to check how many were left. “It took me five hours a week to identify what needed restocking, make lists on a Monday and again mid-week, have the office e-mail the orders to West Country Tools, check the deliveries when they came in and put the tooling away.
“It takes me just one hour to manage the Matrix system – a five-fold time saving. The person that looks after our machining centers is making a similar weekly saving in the number of hours spent administering prismatic cutting tools. It means we both have more time for other things, such as improving tool selection and usage on the shop floor and sorting out problems.”
Delving a little deeper into the situations before and after installation of the Matrix tool stores, some marked improvements are revealed. Mr Larcombe commented that he would have had to check each of the plastic drawers twice a day to be certain that inserts would not run out, which would have been impossibly time consuming. Therefore in practice, tips would be unavailable to continue a machining process on a few occasions every month, often during or just after a night shift. Metaltech nearly always circumvented the problem, by perhaps temporarily using a worn tip or changing the grade and holder, but both solutions compromised productivity.
There have been no stock-out occurrences since the Matrix tool stores were installed in October 2008. Operators and setters access the stores using unique passwords that give them different levels of authorization, while Mr. Larcombe has supervisor-level access to allow him to reconfigure the software. The touch-screen and logical menu system afford easy identification of the location of each tool, which is retrieved from one of the drawers in a matter of seconds. Only the compartment in the drawer that contains the selected item will open, so others tools cannot be taken at the same time. The number and type of tool removed is entered via the screen, so there is an up to date inventory permanently in memory of exactly what is in each store.
West Country Tools interrogates the inventories regularly from its offices in Newton Abbot and visits twice weekly to top up stocks to the agreed levels. The Friday visit doubles as a management meeting. In addition, the local IMC sales engineer is on site every one to two weeks to introduce the latest cutting tool technologies that can save further costs. On the first of every month, a report is generated automatically and transmitted to the mobile telephone of Metaltech’s owner, Steve Hill. It contains comprehensive, itemised information on the number and type of inserts removed from the Matrix stores during the month and by whom, the cost of each type of insert used, the cost of all inserts taken out by each employee and the grand total for the month.
When a Syspro enterprise resource planning and supply chain management system from K3 comes on-stream mid 2009, the link to the Matrix system will expand the information available to include tooling costs associated with each job (as well as labour and material costs). A scanner, already supplied with each Matrix cabinet, will read a bar code on the job sheet to provide the necessary data input. Tooling costs on some long-running jobs are already being monitored by Metaltech, but manually at present.
Mr Larcombe observed, “Operators have really started to think about what they are taking out of the stores, now that they are visibly accountable. “Gone are the days when someone would select an inappropriate tip for a job or take a few extras in case the inserts run out during a shift. With the new system, everyone knows that items will always be there when they need them.”
All of the other advantages of the IMC Matrix tool stores, especially the financial ones, have come as a pleasant surprise. They are helping Metaltech to remain competitive in an increasingly competitive international subcontracting sector. In truth, it has been the success of Metaltech’s business over the past two or three years that prompted changes to its tooling management. The number of machines on the shop floor has increased by a quarter in that period and two-shift working has given way to round-the-clock production on weekdays. Tool management systems are really the only effective way of monitoring usage during the night shift, when supervisory staff is normally absent.

In’tech Médical, Pas-de-Calais, France

There are by now very efficient alternatives that enable to manage a tool stock and to provide a secured access to the different items. Cost benefits are both direct and indirect, and affecting several departments of the company. A highly profitable investment that everyone should get to know.

In only seven years of time
Company In’tech Médical was founded in 1999. From its beginnings, the company specializes in manufacturing orthopaedic surgical instruments, mainly aimed at the rachis (backbone). These "tools", which are part of the ancillaries of the surgeons, exist in standard or in special, innovative, versions. For these 2 product lines, the company acts as a subcontractor, the design being carried out by the ordering party. With a staff of 17 people, In’tech Médical has immediately started its activities according to drawings provided by national and international customers, one American customer making out 80% of company's sales figure. The machine shop has always included CNC machines and the whole production has always been carried out in the subsidiary of the Pas-de-Calais, in the North of France. Machined materials are mainly stainless steels as well as titanium. Nowadays, In’tech Médical covers 50,000 sq.ft. next to Le Touquet with 140 employees, plus 20 in MDP, In’tech's subsidiary in Haute Savoie and 20 more in a manufacturing unit in the USA. Huge investments have been made for machine tools and metrology, the latter activity making out 10% of the staff. Production is being carried out in 3 shifts, 33 people work on polishing stations. Moreover, the market has changed, and the manufacturer now offers his own throw-away products, in plastic, which he designs and produces.

Everything is in the drawer
Since 2003, In’tech Médical has built a partnership with Iscar, member of the IMC Group, concerning the cutting tools. M. Bertrand Balavoine, in charge of the investments, explains: "Iscar offers competitive and quality tools. The carbide manufacturer has a highly capable marketing team who knows how to promote its products, salespeople who are listening to our needs and application engineerss who can validate in the machine shop the performances that have been promised." During the first 6 years of In’tech Médical, the tools were put away manually in drawers with hand written stickers on their front sides. Although the management of the tools was carried out by a computer system, the non secured access to the tools allowed everyone to help himself to his needs; this brought about a huge stock, wasting and high costs. At this time, in 2005, M. Olivier Ruiz, in charge of the French market for the CTMS - IMC group products, suggested in a partnership the automatic tool dispenser "Matrix". Discussions took place, aiming at improving the planning and reducing the costs caused by the tool stock and the related paper-work. One must know that at this time M. Bertrand Balavoine spent 45 minutes per day just to register the inserts flows into the computer. The project began with the definition of the required space for the items, the optimisation of the useful references and the deletion of some useless tools; all this strongly assisted by the supplier. As the proposal matched with the need, 2 CTMS "Matrix" automatic tool dispensers with secured entry and their operating system ManageTM were installed in the machine shop in 2006.

Versatile and re-configurable
Matrix appears like a compact cabinet capable of managing a total of 882 bins, i.e. 882 different items. These bins with a locked cover are lain down in drawers that are locked as well, the specific entries being electronically run by the operating system. The bins and drawers can have a great variety in size and configuration, which enables the user to store tool-holders, solid tools, inserts and others items. The concept is based on versatility with the possibility to add or withdraw drawers and to connect by a simple click further cabinets. Thereby, the device can conform to the needs as they evolve with the company's business. Concerning the ManageTM software's functionalities, one can underline the stock management and automatic ordering, complete traceability and cost centre history, consumption management, the management of tool wear and successive regrindings as well as the editing of many detailed reports.

To try it is to adopt it
For In’tech Medical, the selected configuration has 1505 bins distributed in 18 drawers, with one master and one additional unit. 12 people, users and administrators have received a specific training for the product, and now, for M. Bertrand Balavoine, time has come for the first balance. "As far as I am concerned, I have spared 10% of my working time, the stock has already been reduced by 5%, its turnover is dealt precisely and the flow statements are instantaneous. I have to add that the operators very quickly adapted themselves to this new working method". According to the info gathered by M. Olivier Ruiz, the savings generated by Matrix can be assigned onto 6 main activities:
• Physical item management cost / year: $35 - 350
• Storage costs per tool location / year: $20 - 90
• Purchasing / invoicing cost / year: $110
• Tool seeking / issuing cost / year: 20% of machine time
• Inventory costs reduction: 30%
• Tool consumption reduction: 5 - 30%
• Tool inventory savings: onto 30%. This is quite enough to justify the investment …
Jacques Gauthier