MSC Industrial helps JW Kane Precision Engineering get tooling supply, use, availability and spend under control

3 min read

​MSC Industrial has helped aerospace-focused machinist JW Kane Precision Engineering, based in Northern Ireland, gain control over its cutting tool availability, supply, spend and usage.

JW Kane and MSC have enjoyed a working relationship for over 10 years, so the machinist turned to MSC for advice to further investigate and solve the initial difficulties with cutting tool inventory management. A combination of too many suppliers with limited reporting caused an overlap of stock orders and high admin costs.

MSC recommended its application engineers undertake tooling projects, along with implementation of ControlPoint, an inventory management solution aimed at gaining visibility, saving time and driving profitability.

The result is that JW Kane has greater control over its tooling and spend, while high tool availability limits risks to production and saves time previously wasted looking for tooling on-site or waiting for the delivery of stock.

Says Damian McArdle, managing director, JW Kane: “I commend the work MSC has done for JW Kane. The application engineers have worked closely with our production teams to set us up for the future and have contributed to our ambitious growth plans.”

By working in collaboration, MSC and JW Kane highlighted a combination of: too many suppliers with limited reporting that caused an overlap of stock ordering and associated high admin costs; an inefficient amount of unnecessary and unidentified dead stock; and engineer downtime caused by sourcing non-stocked products creating a risk to production. Fundamentally, JW Kane was managing too many suppliers, causing numerous individual time-wasting occurrences on following up quotes, the inconsistency of deliverability and availability of products.

In addition, JW Kane was keen to achieve data-inspired insights across its business, such as: understanding tooling usage; managing stock levels; and improving productivity. Understanding these would create new sources of value and smarter revenue generating opportunities.

Controlling cost and having the ability to report and project inventory, production and other business areas would enable JW Kane to build on its business growth and better understand those challenging inventory areas that could benefit from optimisation. This included the control and reporting of inventory. With a significant value of items held up in dead stock, JW Kane had an opportunity to streamline its supply chain. The company was concerned with tool availability, stock-outs and ensuring nothing jeopardised customer deadlines and quality expectations.

MSC analysed the challenges and sought data to validate all the concerns JW Kane had raised. MSC’s application engineers worked with JW Kane to plan, record and implement all projects to overcome the existing difficulties. Over and above the challenges identified, MSC provided engineering support to the company’s team to up-skill their knowledge of new product development, as well as legacy projects.

Firstly, to tackle the challenge of too many suppliers, MSC gathered usage data to analyse stock holding and investigate current and future project needs. This approach ensured the right supply and demand of consumables were in the supply chain. MSC application engineers gained knowledge of unidentified stock and catalogued all tooling to understand the current inventory in operation. MSC also worked on: tooling consolidation; trialling and implementing better performing tools; cost saving exercises; and improving production efficiency to create operational excellence for JW Kane. To further enhance productivity, MSC implemented a regrind process to extend tool life and reduce overall cost.

Finally, MSC recommended ControlPoint, an inventory management solution aimed at gaining visibility, saving time and driving profitability. MSC implemented the vending solution tailored to meet the current tooling needs of JW Kane, but expandable to handle future plans. It consisted of two stock-optimised locations on the shopfloor, based on production requirements, which are able to dispense over 300 products and have scope for expansion. An additional vending bay, dedicated to regrind stock, was also a feature.

MSC was able to support JW Kane’s desire for supplier consolidation objectives, with MSC’s breadth of available metalworking and MRO categories meaning that the machinist could source its industrial consumables from a dependable supplier. In doing so, the company benefited from a combined reduction in the administration function and quotes from multiple suppliers. Individual time-wasting occurrences such as these can be collated together in achieving a significant time and cost saving.

The result is that JW Kane has greater control over its tooling and spend. Each month, the company receives a suite of reports highlighting its purchasing breakdown by: product category; department; role; and individual. In doing so, JW Kane has a data-driven insight into spending trends to understand how its supply chain can be further optimised, which positively impacts productivity.

High tool availability limits risks to production and avoids time previously wasted looking for tooling on-site or waiting for the delivery of stock. By using the ControlPoint inventory management solution, JW Kane always has the right products, which are specific to a user’s application and role, and the machines are automatically restocked by MSC.