Extraordinary Demands in Extraordinary Times

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COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic have been a test to the way all of us do business. Do your suppliers have your back?

Can you make extraordinary demands of your suppliers?

We were put to the test in late March of 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic was shutting down the country and locking down businesses.

We received a requirement from a Tier 1 supplier to Raytheon. The time table was tight, the engineering involved difficult, and there was a stringent qualification review process. There were hurdles to clear on this particular project, not the least of which was our facility under a COVID-19 health protocol, which meant our staff was divided into different shifts, our front office staff was partially working remotely, etc.

The requirement was a production run of an avionics cooling system. The design was very complex, requiring full custom tooling and CNC programming, as well as extensive final testing. But to get cleared to work on the part, Raytheon itself had to conduct an audit of our quality system, reviewing our qualification records, our documentation practices, and the whole process would have to be conducted remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

EB Industries is AS9100D/ISO 9001:2015 and NADCAP certified, so we’ve got our game together when it comes to audits. We also have secure remote camera access to all our shop areas, and the ability to conduct a virtual facilities tour. Our Raytheon remote audit was accomplished in about four hours with no negative findings, and now we are one of about five suppliers approved by Raytheon to electron beam weld in accordance with AMS 2680 and AMS 2681. Hurdle one cleared.

While often our customers simply send us parts and we weld them together, for this project we partnered with a machine shop to get the components manufactured. Additionally, we were responsible for maintaining first article inspection reports as well as material certifications. Once the right machine shop was found, we set up schedules to coordinate deliveries of raw materials and machined parts in order to meet the customer’s delivery commitments. While we figured out the supply chain, our engineering staff designed all the necessary tooling, fabricating in-house by our machine shop, and programmed all CNC movements and weld parameters to get top quality finished parts.

A leaky cooling system on a critical A and D project is a non-starter, so the final testing of the finished part was extensive. We handled all testing in-house, including mass spectrometer leak testing. We were able to complete all of this in such a timely manner that we beat our customer’s requested delivery date.

It isn’t often that we’re “stressed tested” like we were on this particular project. A remote audit, setting up a supply chain, tooling design and fabrication, programming, welding, and extensive final testing… and all accomplished in three months during the worst health crises in 100 years.

We can turn your project around quickly, in whatever the circumstances, because we are set up to do exactly that. We have a very strong understanding of what is required for YOU to win a project, and we’re here to help you win.

Even in extraordinary times, we stick to our company slogan, “Exceeding Expectations Everyday.” If you have any requirements, ordinary or extraordinary, please contact us. We’d be happy to review any specifications and provide ideas to help your project become a winning proposition.