To meet customer demand and increase output efficiency for Truck Modification Requests (TMR’s), the TMR team developed brand-new engineering software to move quicker through each custom design.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of customization is: to build, fit, or alter according to individual specifications. In a “made for me world,” that’s exactly what UniCarriers does when it builds our customers’ products using Truck Modification Requests (TMR’s). In-line manufacturing of TMR’s sets the industry standard – right here in Marengo. And, we do it so well that the marketplace takes notice.
Over the last few years, our engineering team saw dramatic increases in unique TMR orders, design needs, and quoting. As such, the team identified the need to streamline efforts to meet this trend and meet customer demands. Complex TMR orders from large customers often require specially-crafted designs to meet unique and varying applications, often in a short timeframe. To find a solution, they started with the problem.
“We realized we weren’t meeting our goals,” said Mark McGee, Supervisor of Modifications Engineering. “The team was working hard, but realized they needed to improve their efficiency. We sat down together and looked at each issue and said, ‘what’s the solution?’”
The team looked at two key areas in need of improvement: responsiveness to customer quote requests and timeliness of design release. When a TMR order is placed, engineers use special software to measure and design each highly-specific element to fit on each truck. To maximize their productivity, UniCarriers developed brand-new engineering software designed to help the team move quicker through each design with automated error checking to identify immediate issues. In addition, McGee worked to develop advanced metrics to allow the team to pinpoint specific issues, which could be resolved immediately
“With these systems in place, we found a way to very quickly identify key design challenges and, most importantly, resolve them resourcefully,” McGee said. “That’s when we really started to see the results.”
In just six months, processes like quote generation increased dramatically. The percentage of quotes issued in 5 days or less went from 50% in May up to 90% by November. During the same time, the days needed to release new designs dropped from 18 to less than 10.
Perhaps the TMR team’s biggest challenge was an order request by a customer in the automotive industry that needed highly-precise custom parts for their unique applications. Faced with a short timeframe, the engineers needed to design and process several complicated (and new) parts to fit needs of their customer’s dynamic work environments. In true “Never Quit” fashion, the team made a commitment to process the full order within 12 days. Working with advanced parts that included customizations to wiring and frames, the team remained focused, often working well into the night. On day 12, the results were in.
“We met our goal,” said McGee. “It was a team effort that involved all the departments here at UniCarriers, and everyone worked diligently to get the job done.”
For Mark McGee and his team, it’s not just about overcoming challenges, it’s about setting a new standard in custom design.
“At UniCarriers, our TMR Engineering team is devoted to providing robust and effective custom solutions as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to meeting and exceeding the needs of our customers.”
“Over this past year we have worked diligently and proficiently to make large improvements to our Quoting and Design processes, and we continue to pursue this goal. We strive to be an asset to our dealers and end users. Whether it means putting in additional hours or investing in new and creative solutions, we are committed to do whatever it takes to be a team our customers can depend on,” McGee added.