As the fiscal year of 2022 is coming to an end, at NewStream, we are reflecting on the journey we have taken and are proud of what our team has done. During the post-pandemic, severe supply chain disruptions have prompted us to engage with our clients to strengthen their supply chains by making them more resilient, team-based, and networked. This has been demonstrated in every project we have undertaken, notably the QLS Sensor Assembly project. Starting the project in June 2020, just recently in December 2022, our assembly team has completed building 100,000 QLS Sensors. For the team, reaching this milestone is particularly significant, especially in light of all the challenges they have faced thus far.
In March 2020, a truck and engine manufacturer client approached our team to express their frustration with obtaining QLS sensor assemblies from their current supplier. The manufacturer, as is customary in the current environment, was unable to meet the demand, leading to a considerable shortage. The employee-owners at NewStream were glad to provide a solution by assembling the sensors in-house.
When the team began the project, they encountered the challenge of satisfying the client’s high demand within in a short-given time frame. The process of breaking the units down and then putting them back together with the new parts appeared to require a lot of time.
“The most difficult problem we faced was trying to reduce our rework numbers and increasing our accuracy and efficiency,” said Annessa Leigh, an assembly team member.
The team made the decision to carefully consider the potential inefficiencies if they continued to operate in the status quo and search for a better method to advance.
“We found using the drill press and jig provided to us was a huge bottleneck along with using a hand crimper,” Assembly Supervisor – Tirrell Teague remarked. “We tapped into some of valuable resources from SRC (Springfield Remanufacturing Company) and worked together on ways to be more efficient. We changed our jigs around and removed the drill press and started hand drilling the old rivets out. We also had an arbor press made to clinch both rivets together at one time which was a huge efficiency and on top of that was much more ergonomic and put a lot less strain on the operators.”
As a part of an employee-owned company that employs the Great Game of Business and Open Book Management, the QLS Sensor Assembly team created a MiniGame called “Do It Right, Not Twice” to reduce the rework number of each month. “By setting these short-term goals, we were able to break down larger issues and contribute to our long-term growth,” Annessa explained.
According to Taylor Eggert, a member of the assembly team, “we successfully addressed the difficulties by focusing on our key rework trouble areas and making ourselves accountable for the job we were doing.”
In accordance with the availability of cores and sensors, Tirrell states that his team typically builds 250 to 300 QLS sensors per day. However, the customer set a stretch goal of 600 QLS sensors each day at the start of the project, which required a quick ramp-up. Despite the sudden stretch goal, the team exceeded expectations, building so quickly that we were even unable to get cores in fast enough to keep up with the number of units our customer had expected.
“As a member of the leadership team, it is my mission to help others in realizing their full potential as employee owners, which is crucial to our business,” Tirrell said. “The success of this team is not only what a leader would be more than proud of, it also has and is still opening doors for more business to make our company stronger […] This is a very rewarding milestone because it directly ties to our culture. When the program started there were over 50,000 trucks that were inoperable. All I could think about is how many people were affected by this.”
“With every sensor we’ve built, we know that another truck is back on the road, another person can earn a job, and another family doesn’t have to worry about making it through the month […] This is an incredibly rewarding feeling,” stated Ryan Jose, another team member of the QLS Sensor Assembly team.
By reaching this significant milestone of building 100,000 QLS sensors, our assembly team enabled us to expand our company, win new projects, and show our teamwork, flexibility, and reliability.
“I look forward to setting new objectives and building on last year’s accomplishments in 2023,” Taylor said. “Seeing the progress our team has made since the beginning of this project only inspires us to set bigger targets for 2023!”
Congratulations to the NewStream assembly team on this tremendous achievement!