One common misconception in the material handling industry is that “custom” or “special” casters and wheels are a bad thing. “They are too expensive.” “They take months to get.”
People call us every day and say: “Well, I just want something standard or from your “catalog,” because they are afraid of getting stuck purchasing a heavy duty caster that will blow their budget. Or, they are worried that the product won’t be on their dock for months.
We spend a lot of time educating our customers that “special” and “custom” casters don’t have to be expensive or take weeks and weeks to get. Our manufacturing processes are set up to handle a high demand variability in quantity and product mix.
For customers, this means they don’t have to settle for something “off the shelf.” They can have exactly the product they need with the options and accessories that are right for their application. And many times, get it faster than it takes some companies to find it and ship it from their warehouse.
We achieved this feat in manufacturing through a methodology called Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM). From their Wikipedia page:
QRM is rooted in Time-Based Competition (TBC), a concept pioneered by Japanese enterprises in the 1980s. Time-based competition is a broad-based competitive strategy emphasizing time as the major factor for achieving and maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage. It seeks to compress the time required to propose, develop, manufacture, market, and deliver products.
The Quick Response Manufacturing concept was developed in the 1980s by Rajan Suri, a professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Suri conceived QRM as a concept espousing a relentless emphasis on lead time reduction that has a long-term impact on every aspect of the company.
At Caster Concepts, we leveraged this methodology to build out our processes and capacities to handle the tens of thousands of possible caster combinations. By understanding the dynamics of the work environment (one core concept of QRM), we can more easily improve our ability to plan for each customer and drastically reduce lead times. One important outcome of this continuous improvement mindset is that we’ve built out our engineering team to design and release new products in less than two days.
With our ERP system, our manufacturing team starts an order as soon as it is entered. In-house urethane capabilities enable us to pour whatever wheels are needed and not worry about a “minimum order quantity.” All accomplished within the same cost structure compared to ordering one of our “catalog” items.
So, if you are a designer, engineer, etc., trying to find the right caster for your application, don’t settle for a not-quite-right solution. Work with the team at Caster Concepts to design and manufacture the exact caster for your application.
Quick response manufacturing. (2022, October 4). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quick_response_manufacturing