An Interview with Jerry Baase, Director of Manufacturing
Customers have to do their part in order to get maximum value and the best results from any vendor, but especially from custom manufacturing companies like Kurek Took. Jerry Baase, Kurek’s Director of Manufacturing, answered a series of questions on this topic for this interview.
Q. What is the most important things customers can do when working with Kurek Tool?
Jerry Baase: Perhaps the most important thing is to provide all the information required for their job. This includes a clear, legible print with all the proper dimensions and special instructions. Often, we receive old prints that are smudged, lack dimensions, and may not include the latest engineering changes. This results in rework, lost time, and extra costs.
Q What other information is important for the customer to communicate to you?
JB: Quantity and time frame. We tell customers when we cannot meet their schedule. We don’t quote what we can’t deliver on time, so this is an important communication for us, as well as for the customer.
Q. What is the best way to transmit prints and other information to Kurek tool?
JB: We can handle faxed or emailed prints, as well as CAD files in Parasolid and igs formats. Customers who use other CAD software should call us to see if we can convert their files into formats we can use.
Q. How important is personal communication in your work with customers?
JB: It’s extremely important for customers to let us know of any changes they want to make to their original RFQ. The sooner we know, the sooner we can make the changes on paper rather than having to change a physical part that is already in production. It’s a lot less expensive and faster to change a print than it is to change a machined part.
Q. What do you do when you receive an RFQ that is lacking information?
JB: We have ongoing working relationships with most of our customers, so I generally give them a call or send an email telling what is missing. Our quote turn around policy is 24 hours, so it’s essential for customers to respond as quickly as possible.
Q. Do you have any pet peeves?
JB: Often, customers will ask us to quote on different volumes, and then want to order fewer parts at the higher volume quote. Our quotes are very accurate and we can’t make that adjustment. Also, some customers will send in an RFQ for a part at various volume levels, and then a couple of days later send the same RFQ with different volume requirements. This wastes time and increases costs.
Another pet peeve would be those customers who send us tons of RFQs but rarely order anything. They are probably using us to keep their preferred supplier honest. We monitor quotes and hit rates from individual customers and will address these situations when they become apparent.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
JB: We just completed a customer survey to determine what our customers want from us, and how we are doing. Customers told us most important for them are reliability—on time delivery; accuracy; quality; fair pricing; short lead times, friendly service and willingness to work with them to solve problems. We received high marks from everyone, and that is extremely gratifying to me personally.