Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011 - (Page 120)

Industrial Acoustics Company U.S. / HQ: Bronx, N.Y. / Employees: 170 / Specialty: Acoustic system design, engineering and manufacturing / Bill Taylor, vice president of operations: “In the past, we may have provided the acoustics, but not the brick and mortar.” iac manufactures many of its own products and delivers turnkey solutions to clients around the world. Total Teamwork industrial acoustics works in new ways to continue its history of silencing the noise. by jamie morgan As a global leader in engineering solutions for noise control, Industrial Acoustics focuses a lot of attention on communication. The company, founded in 1949, long had what U.S. Division Vice President of Operations Bill Taylor describes as a “tribal culture”– one where senior engineering, design and manufacturing staff would verbally pass down insight to the incoming generation of acoustical problem-solvers. For decades, the culture worked for 120 SPRING 2011 IAC and its strictly internal operations. But eight years ago, the technology innovator had to change with the times and transition from a mainly verbal to a verbal and documented system. “For a company of our size and long history, it’s always challenging to implement new processes,” Taylor says. “But the most difficult thing to change anywhere is the company culture.” The transition was imperative for IAC because it began outsourcing to manufacturers throughout the country to lower its overhead. The cost of conducting business from a New York City address already exceeds the national average, but with shipping costs on the rise and competitors’ costs at a minimum, IAC was compelled to move to a decentralized manufacturing strategy. “A restructuring of the shipping industry has resulted in fewer and larger logistic companies that offer less choice than in the past,” Taylor says. “We ship large, bulky products, but it’s mostly air. We needed to have strategic subcontractors geographically located in the United States, especially on the West Coast, in order to lower our shipping costs.” Another reason for the switch was competition from companies with acoustical niches. Taylor notes that while there are few companies like IAC that run the gamut of acoustical solutions for all industries, there are several companies that specialize in one niche such as broadcast studios or testing chambers. “Much of our competition came from smaller companies that specialized in one or only a few of the products we offer,” Taylor explains. “For us, offering the depth and breadth of products that we do, it’s challenging to stay cost-competitive, so we developed a decentralized strategy and started manufacturing more locally to our markets .” This is why the company tightened up its documentation process. IAC still manufacturers many of its own products, especially for nearby clients. It also keeps some products stocked year-round, but for states like Washington, the company depends on subcontractors, and those subcontractors depend on paperwork. In the past, an IAC engineer walked down to the manufacturing floor and told his colleague what needed to be changed. But now, with the manufacturer hundreds of miles away, all updates are documented promptly.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011
Business Value
Supply Chain
Patriot Forge Co.
Reading Bakery Systems
The South African Mint Co.
GCX Corp.
Jay Industries Inc.
Johnson Electric Coil Co.
Certified Transmission
Olhausen Billiards
Pace Industrues
RTI Claro
The Testor Corp.
Restonic Matresses
Advanced Automation
Anadigics Inc.
Hermes Cones & Snack Manufacturers
JR Automation Technologies LLC
Prodomax Automation Inc.
Stafford Manufacturing Corp.
New England Ropes
Berger Paints Trinidad Ltd.
Air Tractor
Artisans Inc.
Bermingham Foundation Solutions
Bowers Manufacturing Co.
Ferti Technologies
Industrial Acoustics
Morton Industries
Presstek Inc.
Ranco Fertiservice Inc.
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Manufacturing Today - Spring 2011