No turning back
For this innovative mold maker, a combination of advanced equipment, strategic thinking, and Tebis software has expanded their definition of what is possible, and there is no end in sight.
For Omega Tool Corp., an Oldcastle, Ontario, Canada-based tool mold maker, good isn’t enough. That’s true for Chief Operating Officer Delko Prebeg, as well as Omega’s highly skilled and motivated workforce. That stems, in part, from the fact that the company has fostered, and profited from, a culture of continuous improvement and innovation that has been recognized by their peers and customers in the form of an award from the Professional Engineers of Ontario, among other examples. It’s also due to the fact that Omega centers its focus on servicing and selling to industry leading customers that expect and deserve flawless execution.
“Our niche is molds for medium to large, complex, aesthetic automotive parts,” says Prebeg, “Competition in the auto industry has always been fierce; with the 2008 recession it reached a whole new level.”
It was around this time that manufacturing industry consulting firm Harbour Results, Inc. (Southfield, MI) issued a report on the tool, die and mold industry. “We determined that OEM’s spend $10 billion per year on tools,” recounts Harbour consultant Nick Stanziola. “That caught Ford’s eye and they saw an opportunity to consolidate their tooling spending with fewer suppliers like they had done with their production suppliers.”
Toward this end, Harbour was asked to qualify key tool, die and mold shops that were manufacturing products for Ford. This was done via a standardized two-day assessment eventually involving 180 different facilities around the globe, including Omega. Scoring was on a 0 to 100 “flexibility” scale, and shops with a score of less than 55 were intended to be “filtered off” the vendor list. There were also other, more subjective yardsticks relative to overall fit with Ford, technology, global footprint, continuous improvement, company culture and other factors called the Y-axis score. The interplay between these two scores gave Ford more flexibility in its evaluations. For instance, a high flexibility score but a low Y-axis might mark a facility as an overflow shop, while a lower flexibility score but a high Y-axis might prompt Ford to take a closer look at the facility and consider ways it could help the shop improve.
This initial assessment was the first time Harbour and Omega worked together, but it wouldn’t be the last. The exercise had prompted some soul searching on the part of Omega. It was determined that the company required to refresh its long-term strategy. Harbour was contracted in to help them refresh this plan.
“Harbour facilitated development of a refreshed, strategic and focused five year plan that would encompass the company’s pre-determined goals and objectives,” says Stanziola. The company had begun its renewal during the 2008 recession with plans to execute on a number of objectives immediately thereafter. Some of the objectives of Omega management included upgrading plant-floor equipment, minimizing the outsourcing of machining, improving machine throughput, and establishing standards and driving those standards to the plant floor. Other plans already in process included establishment of a validation facility as well as starting a second production facility in Mexico. Harbour’s facilitation and consulting expertise provided for the successful renewal and revival of a long-term strategic plan that was created by and through the resourceful engagement of Omega’s management and team members. It’s been a fruitful partnership, Harbour and Omega, one that continues to this day, but Omega was about to get a new ally in its drive to add value and enhance its competitiveness: CAD/CAM supplier Tebis America, Inc. (Troy, MI.).
Omega had already been successfully using Tebis software and in 2013 the relationship between the two companies expanded and deepened. That’s when Omega called in a team of Tebis consultants from Germany to provide an analysis of Omega’s processes and benchmark them against their global peer group. These Tebis manufacturing experts assisted with recommendations in the areas of process, standardization, increased machine utilization and output. They wanted to explore ways in which an expanded use of Tebis software, and the Tebis approach to manufacturing, could help Omega achieve the competitiveness goals outlined in their five year plan. They liked what they heard.
Tebis has helped us achieve excellent and very predictable surface finishes; plus, it’s not difficult to learn and use – our people seem to pick up on it pretty quick.
Omega Tool Corporation
Oldcastle, Ontario, Canada
Delko Prebeg, Martin Chaput
COO, Resource Utilization Manager