Flexibility is a powerful attribute for companies and personal well-being alike. In a manufacturing environment flexibility has nothing to do with yoga or stretching out your hamstrings. It means that a company’s internal processes, be it production or engineering, can adapt quickly to changes in specifications and volumes without derailing production. Manufacturing flexibility is critical in the optical coatingsindustry. It determines what product modifications can be manufactured, and how quickly they can be delivered to meet prevailing market needs.
The key components to flexibility at Andover Corporation are “open architecture” chamber construction, close customer communication, tight coordination between our sales, engineering and production departments and extensive in-house production capabilities.
Open Architecture Chamber Design
Andover coating chambers have been designed and constructed around the idea of flexibility. Sets of chamber components are optimized for specific coating processes, and these sets can easily be swapped in/out for different product requirements. This approach to equipment design also makes for seamless integration of new components . This provides us with the flexibility to decide what works best and make substitutions when a clients’ needs change. Additionally, it allows for rapid troubleshooting and maintenance. This design philosophy is continued in Andover’s software programming. Retrofitting is quick and painless allowing us to attack new emerging markets quickly and take on new R&D projects as they come up.
Communication: From Customer-to-Customer Service and Customer Service-to-Production
Effective communication is a primary goal of Andover’s organization. It starts with the initial customer contact. Having a dedicated sales representative knowledgeable in the product and processes of manufacturing greatly reduces any lag time when responding to a customer’s needs. Being able to rapidly understand what is required by the customer and effectively conveying that information to the manufacturing floor is essential for flexible manufacturing.
This concept carries over to the manufacturing floor. It is important to create a culture that will empower teamwork in departments, mentor qualified team leaders and create champions who can communicate improvements, clarify technical information and help process any necessary changes. Flexibility requires driving that culture down through all layers of the organization.
In House Capabilities
In addition to our thin film coating capacity, Andover Corporation also has machining, polishing, and fabrication capabilities. Together with our extensive on-site glass inventory we can offer flexible, rapid turn-around for the most demanding customers. We have made a priority of eliminating “single points of failure” anywhere in our process.
At Andover, we are committed to superior customer service and the flexibility that it requires. We would like the opportunity to demonstrate to you, our customer, at the earliest possible opportunity.