Volvo Construction Equipment

Case Study

Asheville, North Carolina

Graphcom’s relationship with Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) began in 1992 with what was then called Ingersoll-Rand (IR). In the early 1990s, IR had an inplant print shop to produce operations, parts and service manuals to accompany the various types of heavy equipment that they manufactured.

The Situation

Highly skilled, highly paid engineers and technical writers were standing at photocopiers or coordinating with suppliers for print. In addition, Volvo Construction Equipment was terribly inefficient in their print production. Large quantities were often ordered from local printers simply to secure a lower price per unit. This created a tremendous amount of spoilage due to obsolescence. In many cases, large quantities of obsolete books had to be destroyed due to an engineering change, or mass mailings of “technical service bulletins” were mailed to customers to alert them of the change. They also had enormous racks filled with various items that needed to ship with the machines, such as engine manuals, safety videos, etc. All of these items were procured from different suppliers and a combination of internal departments “managed” this process.

Our Approach

Materials Management with Printing and Distribution Services

Graphcom took receipt of an entire big-rig trailer filled with engine manuals and various third party components in late 1992, and began managing the kitting process. We developed a communications system whereby Graphcom became involved in their build schedule. We could then print manuals as needed, thus allowing for the technical writers and engineers to continue their revisions on an ongoing basis.

Technical service bulletins that had become commonplace with their previous system trickled to nearly nothing. Spoilage was eliminated. Precious manufacturing space was reclaimed for its core purpose, and technical writers and engineers could perform their core functions.

Graphcom took over the procurement functions for all kit items that had previously been purchased by IR, thus reducing their internal procurement costs and streamlining processes. It is estimated that Graphcom’s new system saved the company well over $100,000 in the first year alone.

The Results

The news of this system spread to other divisions of IR over the years. Graphcom soon became the print and distribution source for Blaw-Knox pavers, based in Mattoon, Illinois, and IR Drilling Solutions in Garland, Texas. Various acquisitions and mergers occurred, resulting in the acquisition of Ingersoll-Rand by Volvo Construction Equipment in 2007.

Today, Graphcom supplies European format manuals for Volvo Construction Equipment to support their global operations. We ship just in time manuals and kits to support the manufacturing requirements as indicated in their build schedule, and also support the parts business globally. We ship all over the world daily.

Many quality and speed improvements have been made over the years, and we are continuously measured and challenged to reduce cost and time to market. Graphcom has been among the highest ranked suppliers for nearly 20 years.

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