At Interface, teamwork is a critical element to our success—and no one understands collaboration better than our team. We recently delivered a highly-critical assignment for the oil and gas industry. Robert Fuge, a design engineer at Interface, and his team of experts were tasked with delivering an emergency order that required the typical lead time for a new design to be cut by 30 percent.
The delivery entailed prototyping, machining, assembly, and calibration, and the order was incredibly high-end and complex. What motivated the team to deliver above and beyond results despite the short notice was its unapparelled desire to please both the customer and support one another.
Although the team was successful in completing the order on time and within budget, it wasn’t without its fair share of challenges. Some of the key machine parts were behind schedule from the supplier, and technical issues didn’t make it any easier. On top of that, the most crucial part arrived a week and a half late. However, despite these circumstances, the team implemented plans to combat tasks as they arose. Nothing ever sat or waited, and each part of the process had a clearly-defined plan. Fuge attributes this success to effective communication.
“Everything was communicated ahead of time, and each team member knew exactly what was expected of them. No amount of information ever fell through the cracks, leaving all team members and customer contacts fully equipped to deliver their best work.” – Robert Fuge
The team immediately started drawing designs and building fixtures ahead of time and on top of the normal workload. Purchasing got everything ordered quickly, and the team inspected all parts right as they arrived from outside vendors. Interface’s quality department worked with machinists to get all repairs completed and continue moving through the process. As parts continued to go through, supervisors scheduled and planned for all equipment, and employees were trained and prepped before parts even arrived.
What makes this effort particularly successful is the passion demonstrated by both Interface and the customer. Completing this project wasn’t easy and it required sacrifice, but the team learned a valuable lesson in how to facilitate a proactive, company-customer partnership. By the end of the project, the team reinforced the notion that if concrete and well-communicated plans are put in place from the very beginning, there’s no limit to what can be achieved.
Meet the Interface Team
We’d like to thank Robert Fuge and his team of experts who made it all happen:
Drafting: David Connacher facilitated the quick turnaround of flexure, fixture, wiring, outline drawings and designs.
Engineering: Jim Schafer helped with the fixtures design, as well as evaluated how to repair and modify a fixture later. Rick Haun modified a fixture to work properly for the new part—and did so on top of his normal workload. Wrote the programming and stayed late to assist the machine operator in his work.
Purchasing: Tim Combs placed fixtures and hardware on the order right away to have everything in time for the rapid delivery schedule.
Quality: Kevin Armstrong executed immediate inspection of flexures when they arrived from the outside vendor and worked with machinists to repair a damaged thread on two parts.
Machine Center: Daniel Shipman repaired a damaged fixture in between jobs to keep parts moving throughout the process.
Production: Rob Udink scheduled, planned and configured production equipment for new parts ahead of time to mitigate delays in the parts. He also ensured all of his employees were trained on the new parts before they even arrived and drove these parts through at the end.
DLC Production Team: Tiger Singharath, Manny Castro, Doug Konkler, Dung Nguyen and Chris Balland came together to keep parts moving forward to meet the customer deadline.