UMP “Can-Do” That



By
Kristin J
21 June 21
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UMP has a reputation. While it’s well known by our staff, customers and suppliers, it usually doesn’t show until there’s panic, emergencies, and even potential shutdowns. UMP has a can-do attitude about helping our customers get out of sticky spots. It’s where UMP really shines and quality never suffers despite the fact that there is a time crunch.

This way of doing business extends beyond the top brass and the salespeople, to engineering, tooling, the production line and the office. We never want to shut a customer down!

Five members of UMP’s field sales team share their accounts of making magic happen.

Yes, it’s Friday but…

Brian Sapp, had a request from one of his largest customers, a major appliance manufacturer: can UMP repair a tool from a different supplier? The supplier did not have the tooling resources to make the repairs. The tooling segment that was damaged had been welded several times and could not be repaired

It was Friday of Labor Day weekend. There were no schematics, the tool had to be scanned and remade. Our tool shop worked over the weekend to manufacture the new tooling parts. The customer tooling engineer was able to deliver the repaired tool back to the other supplier on Tuesday.
Normal lead time would be 2-3 weeks. UMP pulled it off in 3-1/2 days. And not only over a weekend, but a holiday weekend!

UMP’s dedication helped to prevent a potential plant shutdown of a major appliance manufacturer. Now shut downs come in all sizes, but for this customer in particular, it could cost 6 figures per hour! The supplier of record did not have the stock, so UMP not only helped their customer, but had a real impact on the supplier’s liability as well.

Another Friday, another crisis? A customer had an imminent shutdown looming due to their supplier’s lack of inventory, and damaged tooling to make more. UMP was preparing to take over the part in coming months, and actually had the stamp ready, but no production slots. We were able to break into the production schedule, run a sufficient number of parts over the weekend to prevent a shutdown, and ship parts to Alabama on Monday.

Same issue, different industry…

“Paco” Montemayor, an independent representative for UMP in Mexico, has an Industrial market customer with a similar story. An internal inventory error left them short on inventory, risking a potential production line interruption the following week.

Paco got the wheels turning with UMP’s Customer Service Team who then worked with the Production Department to help reduce an 8-week manufacturing lead time down to just a few days. Parts were delivered to the customer 4 days later with time to spare and a shutdown crisis averted.

Do me a favor, hold my heat sheilds

Tim Kruk received a call from a potential automotive customer in need of a clip to hold their heat shields together during shipment. They had hoped for a shelf solution, but there was none and they needed these parts within 10 weeks! A supplier referred them to us, knowing UMP’s reputation for quality and customer service.

UMP jumped into action, building prototypes to support their very first 50 customer builds while the production tool was being produced. We were able to not only help, but made design changes happen as well. In the end, it’s not enough to produce the part, it has to be the right part.

One of UMP’s Engineers was on vacation, but coordinated a detour (with his family in tow) to hand deliver the parts. This was a brand new customer
2 years ago, now they are a regular customer with a number of parts in production at UMP.

Supply chain interuptions cost $$$

What to do when a supply chain is continuously interrupted, and costs are climbing sky high due to lack of material and lines stoppages? Call UMP, we will help you manage through it all!

Ebenezer Ruiz, down in our Texas facility, began with customer problem definition and made a case to take over and switch production of their component with UMP. He was able to offer a viable, cost effective solution by involving sales and engineering, meeting all the customer’s existing requirements and making the part at our facility in Cleveland! It was a
win-win for both UMP and the customer. The tool build was completed within the defined timeline and the part is ready to start mass production in the second quarter of 2021 for a 4-5 year run.

Steel market challenges during a pandemic

Today’s steel market is very challenging. Steel mills severely cut production in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic and a drop in demand. The problem continued through the summer due to the time it takes to get mills back up and running. The problem persisted into the fall because of labor shortages.

The net result is a significant shortfall of steel supply at a time demand is increasing. This has led to price jumps and supply disruptions. UMP has been dealing with this since last December.

The automotive industry is very demanding and challenging due to their sophisticated design and manufacturing processes and procedures. Given assembly line manufacturing processes and just-in-time inventory systems, supply disruptions are catastrophic events operationally, logistically and ultimately, financially.

Currently UMP is dealing with a host of these hot spots

Damon Rodehorst tells of the most recent account, involving two 40,000lb. shipments of steel that were due to arrive in late January and later this month. This steel will produce approximately 150,000 parts. That seems like a lot of parts, but it represents only about ten weeks of demand from the customer. We were in imminent danger of shutting down a major assembly line of pick-up trucks.

Fortunately, we were able to find additional steel on the spot-buy market that will cover some of the gap in timing until we receive our scheduled deliveries.

Unfortunately, it will not arrive in time to cover the immediate need. This is where the UMP team got creative and stretched well beyond normal operational boundaries.

We had inventory of the same grade of steel but it was slit to wider width for a different application. In this case, because the steel we had on hand is WIDER than the steel we are lacking, it was possible to use the steel we have IF we could modify the tool to make the parts we need.  We were able to do just that.

Once we make the parts we need, we must change the tool back to its original configuration to accommodate the standard material once again.

Why does this keep happening

The reality is that there is an increase in these types of requests because businesses are running so lean from a staffing standpoint, but are pedal to the metal in terms of production output. Inventories are kept at a minimum for cost cutting measures, and often it causes trouble when there are material shortages, equipment malfunctions, or other disruptors.
It is our knowledge of what it means when the customer is facing a line shutdown, that enables us to see the customer’s perspective and implement a plan that works for them.

To get this done requires the dedication of everyone in our UMP family. When we ask “who’s available to get this done?”, we see that it truly “take a village” to pull these feats off for our customers.

To us, it’s what makes us shine, and we love what we are able to do.