Manufacturing Today - May/June 2017 - 54
Every customer order is unique and made to order. With
the incredible variety of options and choices, it can be a
challenge to balance supply and demand, both from an
inventory and production capacity perspective. OFS
Brands strives to keep its inventory as low as possible,
while still meeting its customer commitments.
"It's amazing how we're running today compared to
how we used to," Menke says, explaining that the company does not start building an item until the client places the order. The company has been able to accomplish
this by building a customer sales forecast tool it dubs its
"promise keeping tool" that directly ties into supply and
OFS Brands also has standardized production across
its entire 1 million square feet of production capacity so
that it can balance capacities. All of its plants are able
to produce all products so that in times of large project
spikes or even natural disasters, it can balance capacity
and still meet customer demands.
"It has taken a ton of hard work to get here but we
love a great challenge," Menke says, noting that it takes
a constant team effort between operations and marketing. One such outcome of this collaboration is a newly
retooled Quickship program that has been lauded by its
customers and helps balance the peaks and valleys of
project business for production. This win-win scenario
has resulted in a surge of day-to-day volume that is built
to order and delivered nationwide in 12 days or less.
"None of this would be possible with our incredible network of supply side partners," Menke notes. OFS Brands
operates with the philosophy of being extremely transparent with its suppliers.
"We try to give them the best forecasting we possibly
can," Menke says. "We work with them very early on,
clearly stating our uniqueness built around agility and
that we have to have partners that have the same philosophy. They have to know the expectations that our customers are asking of us so that we all will succeed. We are
all parts of an ecosystem that wins or lose together ... and
we hate to lose."
The company applies this philosophy with The Sherwin-Williams Co., which it has utilized for approximately
20 years. "They supply us with all our urethanes, finishes
and dyes," Menke says, noting that both companies have
worked together to get a harder and more durable finish.
Menke also praises FEI Marketing Inc., which provides
OFS Brands with component parts. "They've been a good
supplier of ours of chair frame and table parts," he says.
"They're very good and very reliable."
Doing it Right
OFS Brands' growth is a source of pride for Menke. "I'm
proud of where we've come from and the fact that we've
been able to sustain during different periods of the lifecycle of our company," he says.
"We've evolved from basketball scoreboards and venetian blinds to outfitting best in class offices, hospitals
and universities across the globe. It is very humbling and
rewarding to work side by side with 1,700 resilient associates committed to one thing: taking care of our customers and community.
"The world today moves so fast you've got to be able to
adapt," Menke says. "Like any good athlete you have to
constantly be on your toes and be able to move with your
customers' needs." mt
manufacturing-today.com MAY/JUNE 2017