Process Improvement in the Control Panel Industry
We’ve published a lot of stories lately talking about the changes we’ve undergone to make our business more efficient, future ready and smart. You don’t get to remain in business for 60 years without seeking constant improvement. As famed engineer W. Edwards Deming said “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”
At UCEC, every year we strive to do better than the last. It’s this pursuit of innovation that’s kept us in business for more than half a century and what will sustain us into the next one. Today, we’re sharing a topic that might be one of the least exciting, but one of the most critical for your business’ success: process improvement.
The Case for Process Improvement in the Control Panel Industry
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and process improvement is a way to fortify every link in the chain. Though we just updated our project management tool a year ago, that system was primarily a scheduling tool and we used it in combination with other platforms to track the various aspects of our control panel projects. Our latest upgrade “keeps track of every possible piece of information you could possibly think of,” according to Paula Zangari, the Operations Manager in charge of the deployment of our new platform.
“There’s so much technology out there, it’s silly not to do things better,” she continues. The new system will be able to handle all process management. “All the information anyone could need about a project will now be in one spot,” says Paula.
The new tool will be deployed in multiple phases, slowly taking over more and more aspects of the project management process “from the opportunity to the quote to assembly to shipping.”
So what other links in our chain are going to be strengthened by this project management tool? Paula breaks it down into three main areas of improved communication, quality control and customer service.
Better Overall Communication
Since everything will be stored in one place, anyone touching the project will have immediate access to all information instead of relying on individual craftsmen at different stages of the process to be the gatekeepers of that information.
“Previously, when someone in the shop has a question about control panel layout or wiring, for instance,” explains Paula, “they used to have to search for the proper engineer contact information. Now, not only is that contact information tied to the project, but a record of all communication is stored in the system as well. If someone has a similar question or its one that’s already been answered, we’ll be able to discover that more quickly.”
Improved Control Panel Process Quality Control
Our onsite QA testing team already performs rigorous quality control and testing processes on all of our control panels.
However, the new project management tool will keep a singular record of all communication throughout the project’s lifespan. This empowers even more thorough quality assurance. Our QA team can quickly reconcile project quotes with purchase orders with final control panel designs to ensure everything meets or exceeds customer expectations.
Superior Customer Service
One way we achieve superior customer service is through increased transparency, which the system helps us deliver on.
“Eventually, we’ll be able to grant client access to certain aspects of the project management tool,” says Paula, “They’ll be able to see where their project is at a high level and feel assured that we’re tracking against their timelines.”
Process improvement is just one more effort on our part to get the very best handcrafted control panels in the hands of our customers in the most efficient way. We’re all proud that UCEC takes steps to make our processes and panels the best they can be.