The successful development of new production processes plus continued investment in new people and plant has allowed seal engineering business James Walker to make significant reductions in manufacturing leads times across a growing number of the company’s range of static, rotary, hydraulic and custom-moulded sealing products.
Over 560 lines of high performance ‘O’ rings for example are now available ex-stock for same-day dispatch, including items manufactured in the company’s industry-leading rapid gas decompression resistant materials.
The expansion of stocked lines has been carried out in response to customer demand and results fed back from customer satisfaction surveys. The composition of the stocked ranges has been determined through in-depth statistical analysis of sales history and customer order patterns with the addition of specific customer requirements. By accurately matching the stock profile to market demand in this way the company now achieves levels of 98% ‘on time in full’ order fulfillment.
Achieved against a background of rapidly rising demand, the expansion of stocked ranges has created capacity on the production floor which has allowed ‘make to order’ times to be reduced by more than 50%.
These lead time improvements are in addition to James Walker Xpress priority manufacture and dispatch services which cover Walkersele® rotary seals (including on-site joined OSJ® versions), Chevron® and Solosele® hydraulic seals plus high-performance ‘O’rings.
The latest plant to be installed represents the third significant investment package to be put in place at the company’s UK elastomer manufacturing facility. Over £2.5m invested in new plant over the last 12 months in addition to increases in staff levels. The investment has been aimed at extending the facility’s flexibility in addition to meeting a growing global demand across the range of elastomeric sealing products manufactured by James Walker.
“Flexibility is the key to providing our customers with what they need,” explains operations director Mark Brook. “We can set up and manufacture a single ‘O’ ring or a run of thousands of seals in any one of our full range of materials. Products are available for immediate dispatch, can be produced on one of our Xpress services or, when customers are really up against it, our emergency service swings into action.
We have instances virtually every week where we produce seals whilst a customer is literally en- route to our plant, allowing them to return immediately with the essential item to put their plant, process or system back on-line. Submarines, oil rigs, refineries and nuclear power stations - all types of applications and industries have benefitted from our emergency manufacturing service and engineers around the globe know that they can rely on James Walker when they are really up against it.
There are some parts of our manufacturing process for elastomeric products that simply can’t be rushed whatever the emergency – a 12 hour bake takes 12 hours and there is no way around it – but when it matters to our customers we make every effort to turn round the necessary parts always ensuring of course that we don’t compromise the necessary strict quality control standards required by such critical components.”
Full details of products available from stock for same-day dispatch or on priority manufacture and dispatch, are available from the James Walker sales team on 01270 536 000.