A global manufacturer of filters for industrial equipment relies on its responsive service for overall success and profitability. The company receives minimal notice that machines will be available for filter replacement and guarantees its customers that it will complete the service during their down time. In fact, it includes payment of a significant penalty for delayed service in each of its customers’ contracts. Having filters available exactly when it’s time for installation, then, is critical to the bottom line. When the company wanted to launch a new family of products for global distribution approximately four years ago, it found R.P. Fedder to be the perfect partner for their unique ability to meet its widely varied and time-critical production needs.
The Need: Volume Flexibility & High Quality Manufacturing
“The company needed a manufacturing partner that could be connected to them at the hip,” says Chris Fox, president of R.P. Fedder. “They needed just in time capability, within a short order-to-delivery window. More unique, though, was their need to have a contract manufacturer who could just as easily handle an order for 100 filters as for thousands of filters. We were able to deliver filters of the highest quality level in the industry, while accommodating wide swings in volume from week to week, month to month.”
R.P. Fedder’s manufacturing capabilities are twofold: the company has a cell model of production in which small numbers of filters are manufactured per run (such as 100 filters total). They also have assembly line production able to make 100 of any one type of filter per hour. “We are able to turn the manufacturing line on and off. This is something not a lot of companies are able to do,” explains Fox. “It made us perfectly suited to this company’s needs, because we could run the assembly line when needed for large orders and shut it off when it wasn’t needed.”
How We Maintain High Quality Standards
As critical as the production volume and timing is, the filters R.P. Fedder manufacture also have to be consistently high quality. The machines in which they are installed are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are several $100 filters in each machine. “The relative value of the filter in the value chain is small, but there is significant potential for loss if the filter doesn’t perform to expectations. They could literally cost our customer $1 million per day per their contract, or cost their end-user millions in equipment failure,” says Fox.
For this reason, R.P. Fedder tests and validates their HEPA filtration products before sending them into the field. The company’s proprietary testing equipment measures both efficiency (i.e., a particle counter) and pressure drop in their completed HEPA filters. Fox explains, “Failure is not an option. The filter can’t be just ‘good enough.’ Our customers know they can’t take a chance they’re not getting what they think they’re getting.”
Ultimately, Fedder is able to meet all the customer’s most critical needs: quick delivery times, filter performance quality, traceability, and cost, and also allows them to substantially reduce bulky inventory space.