Sulzer specialises in pumping, agitation, mixing, separation, and purification technologies. It is a market leader in water, oil and gas, power, chemicals and most industrial segments with over 50 manufacturing sites worldwide.
When looking for a supplier, Sulzer’s Leeds facility needed a partner that could resolve a number of key challenges and maximise growth opportunities. Firstly, the successful supplier needed to help them grow into new markets and provide better results for new product introductions, as well as optimising processes on jobs the business already had in place.
The supplier was also looking for a business that could help them identify time and cost savings in how it uses tooling and consumables, reduce lead times, and become leaner. Sulzer looked to combine these offerings to provide top quality products and a best-in-class experience for its customers.
To do this, the business also needed to improve the accessibility of the industrial consumables on site.
As a result, MSC firstly introduced its ControlPoint inventory management system — a vending solution that enables Sulzer to instantly access tooling. ControlPoint also provides data to Sulzer that it can share with MSC to identify areas of improvement.
Steve Nash, production and engineering manager for Sulzer Pumps, said: “The data we get from the vending machines is fed back into MSC. That information enables us to target potential savings in specific locations. For example, if we have high expenditure in certain areas, we ask MSC how they can help us to reduce total costs and time spent. So, for optimising those processes, MSC has been great.”
Sulzer can pass on these savings to its customers, making the company even more competitive.
Neil Credland, production manager at Sulzer, said: “We want to be seen as the go-to supplier for the products that we sell, not only for the product, but also our values in terms of the customer experience. If we can reduce costs and reduce our lead times, then obviously that is transferred to our customers.”
In addition to MSC’s ControlPoint vending solution, Sulzer is also benefiting from MSC’s engineering expertise in optimising its existing processes as well as collaborating on future products.
Nash said: “With existing processes, MSC are always on hand to help us make sense of the data our vending machines provide. With this data we can identify problematic areas and then ask MSC what we can do to lower the cost of specific items and reduce lead times.
"For new processes and product ranges, and particularly for those we don’t have huge amounts of experience with, we consult MSC who can help us with developing the new products.”
Working in partnership with a company that shared its values was critical to Sulzer choosing MSC as its supplier.
“There are not many manufacturing sites like Sulzer. It feels like belonging to a family when you're here,” said Steve Nash. “Those values were critical to us when selecting MSC as a supplier — and innovation was also key.
“We want to continually develop our processes to make them quicker, to make them more efficient, to improve quality, and to do things safely. So, we needed a supplier that could work with us to develop these processes, rather than just simply giving us the products we were asking for. Consolidation has been a big factor in why we went with MSC as a supplier. We were going in and spending our time trying to resolve all these problems, trying to develop relationships with all our other suppliers.
“We were trying to develop optimised processes internally as much as we could. But it would have taken us a lot longer and we would have had to use more of our internal resources to do it. Potentially we wouldn't have seen some of the savings that we've seen, without having the support network that MSC has brought in and provided to us.”
MSC continues to work with Sulzer Pumps to optimise other areas of its operations. “We are looking for further opportunities to consolidate and optimise our equipment, our tooling and our consumables,” said Nash.
“There's a lot of opportunities still to look at, such as calibration and grinding equipment that we're currently working on, as well as the change-out of inserts and consumables in general. And I'm confident that we'll get where we need to be to support the business goal of optimising processes by working together.”