Quanex Achieves Lean Manufacturing Processes with Adept Engineering Document Management
Video interview: Jay Lovelady, Engineering Systems Administrator, Quanex Building Products
QUAKERTOWN, PA, Wednesday, June 12, 2013: Quanex Building Products ( www. quanex.com), designer and manufacturer of door and window components for the largest OEMs in the country, has implemented Adept engineering document management from Synergis Software to manage, track and control the company’s documentation for its ultra-high performance integrated door thresholds, window and door screens.
“We were using Windows Explorer to manage all of our CAD files, ECOs, ECRs, ISO documentation—and anything else we could think of,” explains Jay Lovelady, Senior Drafter in Product Development. “We had over 6500 different Windows folders where we stored our work. Our CAD files were being moved in and out of a ‘controlled’ folder”
- It was nearly impossible to know which revision we were working on.
- It was impossible to know who else was working on the same file.
- Documents were getting lost on people’s desks or not being completed on time. We had no way to know if people were accessing the most current version
But the biggest headache...
“We pride ourselves on being ISO- 9000 certified,” states James Hulleman Engineering Systems Administrator. “If you don’t pass the audit then you’re not certified. During several of our internal quality management system audits and external ISO audits, we found wrong documents in places they weren’t supposed to be. Or they were the wrong revision. That was really our biggest headache.”
Quanex selects Adept to handle multiple sites
“We evaluated several systems” explains Lovelady. “We were looking for a solution that had the capability to take what we were doing and make it better. Being ISO certified, we have many defined process that we follow, but we needed a better way to do them.”
“We selected Adept because it was cost effective, easy to use, maintain and administer,” says Lovelady. “We also liked its ability to handle multiple sites—since whatever system they chose in Rice Lakes would eventually be rolled out to their seven other facilities across the country.”
Managing More Documents in Less Time
Adept now manages, tracks and controls all of Quanex’s CAD files, ECOs, ECRs, Deviations, Quote/Order Acceptance meeting forms, QMS documentation, ISO documentation, and all their Material Safety Data Sheets electronically.
Using Adept also eliminated all the “hand carry” processes that had been in place. “Now, documents flow through the system electronically, and everyone knows where they are at all times,” says Lovelady.
“We know who has done what to them and if someone needs a document, they can find it easily. There’s no more endless searching through Windows files, hoping to find the correct version.”
Meeting the Quality Challenge
ISO certification is a huge competitive advantage for Quanex, Adept has become a strong ally. “Being ISO certified we have many defined processes that we need to follow. We knew Adept could take our existing processes and improve upon them,” comments Lovelady. “We have structured our projects in Adept according to our ISO documentation. Adept allows us to quickly locate specific engineering drawings for a product and then find all related documentation using the project number.”
“Since using Adept, we’ve eliminated incorrect documents and wrong revisions in our internal audits.” reflects Hulleman. “In the past, we might have had one document in 20 different places in the plant. If there was a change, we’d have to make 20 different copies and distribute them on foot to the shop floor or somebody’s office. It was quite cumbersome. Adept has helped cut down on all our work.”
Productivity Gains throughout the Company
Because Quanex now uses Adept in Quality Assurance, Customer Service, Human Resources, Purchasing, Scheduling and other departments, there’s more opportunity for improving processes in other facilities. “We are beginning to roll out Adept to other facilities. We’re also starting to look at how we can leverage Adept and give our sales force access to drawings from the field.”
Concludes Jeff Sawyers, Director of Product Development, “We’re going to continue to look at our systems and roll them into the framework of Adept like we’ve done with our ECR and ECO processes. Adept is an output of our problem-solving and our Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. It’s definitely a tool to help us get better as a company.”