Global Fastener News

Lammers: Value Analysis Leads to Customer Loyalty

Lammers: Value Analysis Leads to Customer Loyalty
August 07
23:15 2017

The findings can be something simple such as eliminating multiple part numbers, but savings can create a loyal customer.

Your staff engineers are a key to customer loyalty, Randy Lammers told the joint session of the National Fastener Distributors Association and New England Fastener Distributors Association.

A “Value Analysis / Value Engineering” program brings in engineers to “interact with a customer to effect engineering changes that will increase customer value by reducing the customer’s overall costs, improving process efficiency or product quality,” Lammers, of Würth Industry North America, said.

The VA / VE “team approach to eliminate or prevent unnecessary cost and increases customer satisfaction,” Lammers said.

Relatively simple changes such as nut thickness or reducing part numbers can reduce total costs and inventory and increase margins.

A VA / VE program must have defined goals and expectations or “the customer may have unrealistic expectations,” Lammers forewarned.

There is a financial reward for changes in the design stage rather than just purchase price, he said.

Lammers listed key factors for a successful VA / VE program: Clearance to take pictures or remove samples when necessary; assembly line access and manufacturing support; component cost and full labor rate information; customer expectations of timing and program outcome and follow-up; project tracking and documented results.

“Get an internal champion at your customer’s to help on those key factors,” Lammers emphasized. That champion within your customer’s staff can help with management buy-in. 

Beyond that champion and management, you need engineering and purchasing involved, Lammers added.

“The purchasing agent only wants to lower price,” Lammers noted.  VA / VE is about lowering costs. “Make sure they understand that.”

A sample goal can be to “Document a minimum of $175,000 of submitted VA / VE cost savings from the Engineering Summit commencing Tuesday, March 4.”

From there calculate a full labor rate, options such as drilled vs. tapped holes or a weld. Calculate the cost of placing a washer on a bolt.

“Get their engineer to walk the assembly line with you,” Lammers advised. “Our involvement does not end at the drawing board,” Lammers explained. “Conduct assembly line reviews. Identify critical assembly operations. Identify tooling alternatives to improve quality and / or increase productivity.”

A product tear-down can lead to identifying alternative design or assembly methods, Lammers pointed out. “Our involvement does not end at the drawing board.”

Early in VA / VE are questions for the customer: “Where Mr. Customer are you having trouble? Where are you having bottlenecks?”

There are so many design ideas in fasteners, Lammers declared.

“They need us,” Lammers said of WINA customers who have saved with VA / VE.

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