Imbera Puts Big Chill on Fastener Supply Problems
Some manufacturers make cool products, figuratively speaking. But, Imbera literally makes them. Founded in 1941 as Industrias Montiel, Imbera is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial refrigeration units for liquid, food and dairy products.
The company has plants in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, and it maintains manufacturing alliances in Argentina, Turkey, Pakistan and the Philippines. In addition, Imbera exports to 45 countries, has sales offices in eight of them and provides equipment maintenance in nine, including the U.S. and Canada.
About two years ago, managers at the company’s Queretaro, Mexico, plant were forced to address a fastener supply chain problem that was negatively affecting production. The plant’s complex network of fastener vendors made it difficult to accurately track how many fasteners were available or being used, resulting in higher costs and inefficiency.
To solve this problem, Imbera decided to consolidate its supply chain by using only one supplier: Optimas OE Solutions LLC, a global distributor of fasteners and c-class products. Imbera hired Optimas because it had a track record of solving fastener supply problems for several other HVAC manufacturers in the region.
At Queretaro, Optimas began its work by meeting with Imbera managers and workers to accurately gauge the plant’s fastener requirements. These gatherings helped Optimas better understand the existing supply chain framework and consider areas that could be streamlined.
Of most importance to Optimas was limiting the number of fastener brands that Imbera uses to those that offer the widest selection of products. According to Ricardo Rodriguez, regional director at Optimas, this approach improved fastener-selection efficiency, reduced the total purchase cost when ordering multiple fastener variations and increased uniformity within the supply chain so Imbera managers could more accurately measure plant logistics.
Optimas then addressed the problem of fastener storage space. At the time, Imbera stored eight to 12 weeks of fasteners supplies on-site, which reduced facility capacity and prevented expansion.
Because it is located near the Queretaro plant, Optimas introduced a policy of three deliveries per week so Imbera could reduce its on-site fastener stock to one or two weeks’ worth. Optimas also integrated vendor managed inventory with a just-in-time replenishment system to better manage fastener supply and adhere to global quality standards. This approach, combined with a joint Optimas-Imbera risk assessment of part shortages, minimizes downtime.
Another way that Optimas helps Imbera is offering expertise when the manufacturer needs to specify new fasteners. In many cases, Optimas is able to recommend a less expensive alternative fastener that offers equal or better performance.
Last year, Optimas supplied more than 10 million fasteners to Imbera, enabling it to reach its goal of 30 percent sales growth. The manufacturer has since asked Optimas to assist additional Imbera divisions to achieve cost savings and greater efficiency.
Optimas distributes a wide range of screws, bolts, washers and locknuts, as well as threadlockers and primers. It also manufactures several licensed fasteners using cold-forging techniques. Worldwide customers number nearly 4,000 in the automotive, agricultural-equipment, construction, power-generation-equipment and general industrial markets. For more information on fastener supply chain management, call 844-678-7588 or visit https://global.optimas.com.