When a best-in-class manufacturer of industrial cranes sought a manufacturing partner to fabricate large crane jib assemblies, Leonhardt was immediately considered as a potential contract manufacturing solution. A previous supplier for the crane manufacturer, Leonhardt had demonstrated the commitment to quality, customer service, and range of heavy-duty metal fabrication capabilities necessary to take on the project.
The crane manufacturer was struggling to keep production levels ahead of customer demand and sought a manufacturing partner to take on the production and fabrication of a large jib assembly. All welders had to be third-party certified to AWS standards. The finished crane jibs were 30 feet in length and combined an intricate crane adaptor. The fully welded assembly consisted of more than 300 manual welds and 239 individual parts that included castings, sheet metal, machined parts, steel tubes and a highly cosmetic powder coated finish. The size, coupled with production requirements, demanded a manufacturing facility with a large footprint and a supplier with the capability and experience to coordinate a variety of components and raw materials and manage sub-tier suppliers.
Though the manufacture of a heavy duty welded assembly such as a crane jib was a departure from the typical decorative tubular products Leonhardt has become known for, the project did require the same quality systems and lean manufacturing capabilities practiced every day with Leonhardt’s other customers. Leonhardt expanded square footage in the factory, added length to an overhead crane-way, and proceeded to set up a work cell to achieve one piece flow on the shop floor.
In addition, Leonhardt was able to organize the then current suppliers of components and raw material into a JIT kan ban system, reducing inventory carrying costs and creating a lean supply chain that was truly flexible to customer demand. By buying a completely assembled jib from Leonhardt, the crane manufacturer reduced their supply base to one partner on this product, which allowed them to free up internal manufacturing and fabrication space. As an added benefit, the manufacturer no longer needed to dedicate resources to the management and carrying costs of multiple part numbers, long lead times and minimum batch sizes and truckload quantities. We work together to deliver what is needed, when it’s needed, in the quantity needed, in a true JIT supply method.