page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116

92 Janurary 08 advantage of the globalization trend. In addition to its domestic plant, Hardinge— which traces its history back to 1890 when it fi rst began producing turning machines—operates manufacturing facilities in the UK, Switzerland, Taiwan and China to produce its family of turning, milling, grinding machines and workholding product. Hardinge customers include machine shops and manufacturers who use the tools to shape metal, composites and plastics into automotive parts, medical equipment and agricultural products out of metals, composites and plastics. While each plant specializes in making different products—the China plant services the China market only, for instance and most of the company’s high-end machines are built in North America—the overlap in supply chains creates abundant opportunities, says Bassett. Because each plant has a supply chain point person, Bassett can quickly get price quotes from around the world. At the same time, when the company can bundle together purchasing for several plants, it can often get more favorable pricing. “There’s a lot of savings to be made by optimizing the supply chain,” he adds. “You can chase the almighty labor dollar all you want but the real bang for your buck comes when you can leverage your supply chain against the competition.” A host of factors go into determining where to source supplies from and many of those considerations are a moving target, creating a dynamic supply chain situation. For instance, recent spikes in fuel costs mean how far an item must be transported can have a major impact on the true fi nal cost of that component. Likewise, the recent weakness of the US dollar has made it more costly to source supplies from domestic vendors; even tax and duty opportunities are taken into account. “For years, Brazil was one of most economical places to source castings, but because of the declining value of the dollar combined with transportation costs, it’s not as attractive today,” Bassett says. “Now we’ve got a foundry that supplies castings to us from Wisconsin. When you consider the total landed cost, they’re the cheapest in the world and they’re made in the United States. When you consider actual material costs, shipping costs, inventory carrying costs based on total lead-time, and the many soft costs associated with managing a supplier and factor all that in, the best vendor is right here in the US, only a 16-hour drive away.” Hardinge considers all those factors and others as part of a constant review of its vendor base. “We’re not necessarily setting out to pit suppliers against one another, but they are constantly being reviewed and evaluated,” Bassett declares. Another factor is where in the value chain a supplier rests. For instance, Hardinge has long sourced the CNC components for its more complex machines from GE Fanuc. “If you chose to, you could go down the path of spending tens of millions to build your own facility or you could go with the best in the industry, and they’re considered the best. That’s what the market drives us toward,” says Bassett. Fanuc also works with Hardinge on inventory control. Where the company used to buy all the components it might need based on forecasts, Fanuc now stores components at Hardinge’s facility but releases the inventory as it is needed. “They ship based on our forecasts but we don’t own it until we take it out of their cage.” Other key suppliers have also worked with Hardinge to deliver more components, as they are needed, enabling the company to reduce inventory and the footprint needed to assemble its products. For instance, Japan’s NSK, which supplies what Bassett calls “extremely high quality” spindle bearings used in the machine tools, has consistently worked on just-in-time deliveries and has developed a kanban system for some of the most heavily used parts, keeping them in stock domestically. NSK is also an example of a supplier that is available to work “You can chase the almighty labor dollar all you want but the real bang for your buck comes when you can leverage your supply chain against the competition” NSK has been a leader in the anti-friction bearings and linear technology sector for decades with much success in spindle bearings for machine tools. Machine spindles in machining centers, lathes and milling machines are key elements which determine the performance capabilities of the entire machine. NSK Robust Series technology delivers signifi cant advantages. Upgrade to NSK today! NSK

January 08 93 Hardinge with the company on new product developments and customer-driven improvements. “They’ve got a strong engineering team that is very responsive,” he adds. A key part of the more effi cient supply chain is the Hardinge Asian Sourcing Center, which serves as a focal point for sourcing parts from Asia, whether for plants based there or those outside the region. “If I have a requirement for a part in North America, I can call one person and have them search Taiwan and China for prices and lead time while I also have my team doing the same thing in North America. I may end up with three or four quotes from around the world that don’t take me any longer to get or research.” The approach also lowers hurdles such as cultural and language barriers by building a dedicated, on-the-ground resource. Bassett believes that over time, the sourcing operations will become a high-level corporate function, a refl ection of the importance the company places on the supply chain. Technology helps make the process work, with the company using the Internet-based integrated communications tool Skype to communicate from the US to Europe and Asia. “I can hold up a print to point out a part I’m talking about and the folks in Asia can go back to the vendor and know exactly what they’re talking about; it cuts right through any language barriers,” Bassett says. While the savings and other improvements have been coming already, Hardinge appreciates that its supply chain efforts are a long-term proposition. “There’s defi nitely a lot of opportunities,” Bassett says. “We feel we’re going down the right track. We’ve been fi ghting the battle of lean the last seven years and making improvements and we know there’s no end in sight.”