Big companies seem to have all the advantages—more resources, better name recognition, and often lower buying and manufacturing costs. The good news is that small companies can still compete. Here are three that are outsmarting the competition with better agility, efficiency, and data leverage.
Thru Tubing Systems, Inc. (TTS)
Thru Tubing Systems, Inc (TTS) began providing specialized downhole services and equipment to oil and gas customers in 1997. Success came quickly to the small Oklahoma City-based company, and by 2002, TTS began expanding into new locations—Texas, North Dakota. Today, you can even find TTS facilities in Argentina and China.
But with all these dispersed teams, the company soon realized that it needed a more professional approach to managing documents. “We had numerous problems with files being stored in the wrong folders, causing manufacturing to order parts from the wrong revision, which cost lots of money,” says Glenn Walls, TTS mechanical designer & manufacturing supervisor.
Mis-ordered parts weren’t the only difficulty. A growing company needs central archiving and standardization so that important data is easy to reach and use—no matter where you work and reside. And most of all, documents have to be safe!
“Security wise, it is always good to know who is accessing, viewing, and printing files,” says Wells. “In a perfect world, everybody is honest and good, but in the real world, not everybody is. It is prudent to have file security. Unfortunately, lots of people are honest as long as they know they are being checked on.”
That’s why TTS turned to Adept. With the Synergis document management solution, TTS can track every part back to its material manufacturer, quickly leverage existing documents for new products, and even keep testing notes in the system.
“One of the great benefits of Adept is its ability to keep track of links,” says Walls. “I might have one part on three different assemblies. It is crucial to know where the part is associated so as not make changes that may affect other assemblies in a negative way.”
Best of all, Adept put TTS way ahead of the competition when customers began seeking out more accountability from their vendors after Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“Now that customers are getting more stringent with the requirements, a lot of our competitors are playing catch up,” says Walls. “But we are already set up.”
Crosslink International, Inc.
Crosslink International Inc. develops and manufactures rubber/elastomer products for automotive, industrial, and specialty OEM markets. You can find the Crosslink brand anywhere industry needs to reduce transmissible noise, vibration, and harshness within a suspension, chassis, or framework.
As you might guess, succeeding in these markets isn’t easy. Competitors are often multi-billion dollar manufacturers with plenty of experience, tools, and resources for winning the best contracts.
Crosslink fights back with Adept. The software tracks everything at Crosslink—versions, revisions, cross references, and parent-child relationships—through Adept’s integration with SolidWorks. The company uses Adept to keep 100% of its processes under control, making the small manufacturer more agile, lean, and accountable.
With the Synergis software, Crosslink easily passes ISO and NAFTA certifications, too. Documentation is easy to retrieve, and quality control audits proceed quickly and smoothly, making a significant impact on overhead.
“Adept has been key to our success with document control,” says Steve Pollazzi, principal. “Our quality management requirements aren’t huge, and that makes our life really, really easy.”
Crosslink today shines next to the competition, even in the face of changing market conditions. “All our costs are going up— insurance and raw materials—but Adept is something that has really allowed us to be more efficient,” says Pollazzi. “All these rising costs are also the things that differentiate us from other people. Adept has allowed us to keep a lean group.”
He adds that when his team now bids against the Goliaths for those plum contracts, “we’re typically successful because we can turn quotes around faster and keep overhead low.”
Sussex Wire specializes in designing and manufacturing micro-miniature goods, producing components with diameters as tiny as 0.0035 inches. Launched in the 1970s, the family business sells to the companies that sell to OEMs—supplying them with items like valve stems and hubs for hypodermic needles.
But now the landscape is changing. Recently acquired by a group of investors, Sussex is now taking aim at bigger markets and even acquiring other small companies. And with bigger markets come bigger competition. To make it work, Sussex has to tighten up its processes and work leaner than ever.
That’s why the Sussex team adopted Synergis Adept software. The Synergis solution doesn’t just vault and organize the company’s data. It can also eliminate rework and automate processes (like engineering change orders), so Sussex engineers speed through design and release cycles.
Sussex leadership notes that with all its product information centralized, the company can make more informed investment decisions by mining the Adept database.
“If I wanted to buy a micro stamper that did a deep draw, progressive die, it would be great if I knew that there were 80 prints over the past 12 months that could have benefited from the tool,” says Tim Kardish, president. “That will help me decide whether I should invest organically in the design and manufacturing, or even go buy a company because I’m getting asked by too many customers to do something I cannot do. Without Adept, our process for making investment decisions would be very loose.”
There’s one more important benefit of Adept as Sussex tries to become a bigger player in a highly competitive marketplace—the document control solution plays well with any CAD format—Autocad, SolidWorks, and PTC Creo. That means the team doesn’t need to worry about the preferred CAD software at whatever company Sussex might acquire in the future.
“We have no idea what they’ll be working with,” says Kardish. “With Adept, we can import their drawings, their files, their models, and link it all in one system.”
Standing Up to the Competition
Look at the website, and you’ll quickly see that Synergis Adept counts many giants among its customers. General Mills, Dow, FedEx, and many other well-known names rely on the software to “find, manage, save, and control engineering, CAD, and business documents throughout their lifecycle.”
Now up-and-coming teams are starting to find out what happens when they use powerful big-company tools and add the drive of a small business hungry for growth. With Adept, they’re better poised to meet changing industry and customer demands, they submit more successful bids, and they expand their companies successfully, no matter the competition.