Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010 - (Page 59)

MKS Instruments Inc. HQ: Andover, Mass. / Employees: More than 1,500 / Services: Process control instrumentation and technologies Brian Quirk, vice president of global operations: “We have to be flexible in our processes to serve the demanding needs of our customers.” Just in Time mks must have fast turnaround on orders, and it needs suppliers to respond in the same way. by russ gager “Just tell me what you want.” That old saying doesn’t always work with some of MKS Instruments’ customers. “The demands of our customers are very unpredictable,” explains Brian Quirk, vice president of global operations for MKS Instruments Inc. “If I ask them what they need, they probably can’t tell me, but they would say they want it right away. We have to be flexible in our processes to serve the demanding needs of our customers.” That is very important and helps differentiate our value to them from others suppliers.” MKS Instruments – which manufactures instruments, subsystems and process control solutions for advanced manufacturing processes – achieves that goal by obtaining the same level of performance from its suppliers. “We’re a lean manufacturer, which means that we build to order,” Quirk explains. “We try to lean out our supply chain and delivery process, making it as line-of-sight as we can. Most of our critical suppliers are all contracted on annual agreements, and we simply pull from their processes and pipelines when the demand spikes for our products. “As a practice, we try to avoid spot buying. Spot buying extends lead times, which diminishes our flexibility for our customers.” MKS uses line-of-sight ordering. “If you have either empty spaces on a production floor or an empty component storage bin, that visual shows you need more of something,” Quirk explains. “Replenishment occurs by taking that empty visual signal and refilling that space or bin. An empty component bin goes back to our supmks manufactures instruments, subsystems and process control solutions for advanced processes. SPRING 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010
Global Strategies
Cost Concerns
Growth Opportunities
Continuous Improvement
Business Value
Juanita’s Foods
Les Plats du Chef
Gardner Denver
Smeal Fire Apparatus Co.
Club Car Inc.
Parkson Corp.
MKS Instruments Inc.
Amity Technology
Co-Operative Industries
Corbi Plastics
Elyria/Hodge Foundries Co.
Inteplast Group Ltd.
Willbanks Metals
Zotos International Inc.
Akron Foundry Co.
Alo North America
Bosal International
First American Plastic Molding Enterprise
MAC Equipment
Mayville Engineering Co. Inc.
Kurtz Bros. Inc.
Aesco Electronics
Code 3 Inc.
Columbia Marking Tools
Euro-Rite Cabinets
Fampec Technology LLC
Faubion Associates Inc.
Ginsey Industries Inc.
Imagineering Finishing Technologies
Imperial Woodworks Inc.
Innovative Lighting
Liburdi Dimetrics
MTC Transformers
Plastiques GPR
S.A. Robotics
Sunrise Windows
Positran Manufacturing Inc.
Manufacturing Tomorrow

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010