Friday, July 31, 2015

Small Middle Tennessee Manufacturer Finds That Work With Global Manufacturer Leads To Something More Valuable Than Money

Turner Machine, a custom machine builder and machine shop, recently completed multiple projects for car manufacturing giant Toyota. As one of only three domestic manufacturers selected for the projects, Turner Machine designed and manufactured seven machines that will be used as part of the fender assembly process in three Toyota plants in San Antonio, Texas; Baja, California; and Georgetown, Kentucky.

Now, Turner Machine is employing the lessons learned from working with Toyota to better serve its other clients. Since conducting business with Toyota, Turner Machine has streamlined its project management through a new PowerPoint file system used to track and resolve issues that arise throughout the duration of the project. For example, if a problem emerged in the design phase, Turner Machine input the design in a PowerPoint along with notes and sent it to Toyota, who then responded using the same PowerPoint. Because it proved to be an exceedingly effective method for tracking and resolving issues, Turner Machine is now using the new system with other clients.

“Working with Toyota has been a great learning experience for the Turner team,” said Jonathan O’Neal, senior project manager at Turner Machine. “Using their standardized methods for project execution challenged us to examine our methods and procedures and see things from a different perspective. It’s a great example of how a small company can benefit from working with a large one, which goes beyond money.”

Because communication with Toyota was complicated at times due to multiple departments and chain of command, Turner Machine learned to be more proactive on the front-end of the process to reduce the likelihood of issues on the back-end. This not only saved time, but also money, since it is more expensive to make changes late in a project’s lifecycle.

Along similar lines, Turner Machine is also putting in place a new project specification system, similar to Toyota’s, in which clients will now supply the company with extremely detailed specifications and timing requirements at the onset of each project. Doing so will prevent loss of time, money and materials.

Among the feedback from Toyota, Turner Machine was praised for its facilities and in-house capabilities, as well as its hospitality and willingness to react swiftly to any issues that arose during the final stages of the projects.

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