Without an efficient method to generate price quotes, Nyhus Enterprises found the task remarkably demanding of company owner Eric Nyhus' time and attention. Project inquiries for industrial coatings and surface treatments kept Nyhus busy factoring variables, striving for accuracy and responding to potential customers as quickly as his schedule would allow. The strain it placed on his resources was apparent. "It was one of the first things we noticed," recalls Cody Kropp, University of Wisconsin-Stout Engineering Technology student.
Kropp and Shayne McLaughlin, a UW-Stout Supply Chain Management student, worked with Nyhus Enterprises in summer 2016 through the Manufacturing Advancement Program, a recent initiative developed by UW-Stout's Manufacturing Outreach Center. The goal of the program is to bring the university's extensive resources, including technical expertise, to Wisconsin small manufacturers like Nyhus, helping them improve productivity and performance without capital investment.
Nyhus Enterprises was the first of several companies identified by Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation as candidates to participate in MOC's program.
After an initial tour of the Nyhus facility and thorough discussion with the Nyhus team, Kropp and McLaughlin identified priority issues and introduced Lean concepts to the company. They also developed a user-friendly, customized quoting tool that simplifies the estimating process.
Nyhus now creates quotes using an electronic spreadsheet that accounts for part sizes, required processing, cost, time, materials, etc. Once the fee is approved, the spreadsheet generates a work order so employees are aware of the project and know which processes are required to complete it - no delays due to communication issues. The new tool also allows Nyhus to confirm that quality checks have been made and compare estimates to actual results.