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Mr. Andrew Schutte with COUNTERPART Talks about how to Up Your BOM Game
17th February 2021 • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie
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In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Andrew Schutte, General Manager with Smooth Logics and Counterpart-ERP about "The Challenges of creating accurate BOM and Strategies for BOM Success". Get the answers to your "Bill of Materials" questions along with Andrew's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

You can find out more about Andrew and the wonderful team at Smooth Logics on how you can up your BOM game by the links below. Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2020. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go. All right, you industry heroes from all around the world. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast, you know, this platform right here. As I point to it in the video, it's all about you. It's all dedicated to you. You are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly you innovate. And you're changing the world as we speak, as well as lives. That's why we celebrate you on this particular podcast, because you deserve it. All right, in the hot seat.


We got a gentleman by the name of Andrew study. All right. He is definitely a person who is with a company called smooth logics. He is the general manager. And we're going to be talking a little bit about


bill of materials. boms you're saying to yourself, Scott, that's not sexy? Oh, it's dead sexy. So don't argue with me. Because we're here to celebrate.


Before we get into the interview, just let's let's take care of the business.


All right, you know that this platform, the industrial talk platform is all about the education. It's all about collaboration. It's all about innovation. And it's imperative, that that you hear that as you take action. Because without innovation, you're I mean, you're not moving that what proverbial ball forward, right. And it starts with education. And it starts with the ability to be able to collaborate, collaborate with great people out there and what's really spectacular, especially on the industrial talk podcast, we have great people that are absolutely have a big desire to collaborate with you. Nope, they do. They do they want to collaborate, they want to educate they want to innovate with you. Because right now, I don't even know what we call this time we live in the squiffy pandemic, whatever it is all I know. One is that we don't have all the answers and we're looking for answers. And we've got to be able to survive, rebuild and prosper whatever that future looks like. And to do that, you have to educate, you've got to collaborate with great industry professionals, and innovate not just from a technology perspective, but innovate on how you interact with your market, interact with your team, and really create some high performance solutions. The next business, because I talk all about that, because it is all about that education, you know, collaboration and innovation. I want to be able to highlight an organization at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee


connected systems Institute that's an S on that systems and their training,


that that workforce of the future, that digital transformation workforce of the future. They've got an incredible team. Mary Bunzl, the executive director at the connected systems Institute has just put together a rock star team to be able to develop the education that is needed for this incredible, one. Incredible.


You know, training of, of this digital world we live in, we need to do that. Manufacturing depends on that. Okay, I've covered all my business that you need to be aware of.


All right, how are you doing, Andrew? Welcome to the industrial talk podcast, my friend. Thanks. It's a pleasure to be here. Hey, did I get the last name right study? You did? Indeed. All right, you listeners out there. You're gonna say to yourself, Scott, how do you spell Scotty? Yeah, I had to phonetically lay it out. But it's s ch u TT E. That's great.


All right. Okay, for the listeners out there. Give us a little 411 on who you are, Andrew, and then we're gonna start talking a little bit about the challenges with Bill of Materials. Yeah, thanks for the intro. I was born and raised in West Michigan, Zealand, to be specific Not to be confused with the Netherlands, although a lot of people came from the level and


we're on the west side of Michigan, but west side of Michigan seems to be the one of the manufacturing and automation machine capitals. We send a lot we build a lot of parts of the automotive industry office furniture medical, and we ship a lot of equipment and product over to the east side of the state by Detroit. So I grew up my father had a small machine shop and equipment building. Shop for we predominantly did automotive and consumer goods. So


Before I had a driver's license, I was making chips, running a mill lathe welder designing in SolidWorks running CNC programming and CNC wiring and plumbing equipment, mostly to assemble automotive parts or office furniture.


See, you know, that whole area, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, that whole area up there is just this is just rich in manufacturing rich in crafts, and termit the people up there are so proud of what they can accomplish and and what they build. They just there's a lot of energy in building. I love it. I just I love that passion. Yeah, absolutely. We have a


whole support for it to


the local public schools, tech centers, I run a educational department at a local adult technical training school. And there's a lot of companies support for the training in the school systems so that we have the next generations that are able to continue to weld and machine and design and make and make great things is huge. Don't get me wrong, I think that there's, you know, other countries around the world are there they're investing a lot of time energy and, you know, the old money into developing that workforce of the future. And, and I've just, I've been very impressed with that commitment to education, that that trade, education. And and it's, it's not like, like, for me, it's not like my dad's


view of what what we did. It's, it's, it's pretty sophisticated stuff. There's a lot of real incredible innovation that exists today. And it's only getting better. And it requires some really sharp individuals to be able to, you know, build, we need them. We just don't just need them in a big way. And you need to educate them. You can't just throw them on the floor and just say good luck. Have a good time. Figure it out. Nope. This is sophisticated stuff. Now give us a little background on the company that you represent. Yeah. So this created by our


by our need to solve an EMP problem in the industry. I was a automations design engineer for many years and still do a little bit from time to time. And one of the great challenges with designing a machine. To put something together we'll use the quintessential, you know, like a door handle or view mirror or something like that. West Michigan is famous for making those. And as an engineer, I would get a new door handle or a new rearview mirror for a new


vehicle that I've never seen before in my life, right 2023 model of the Chevy Suburban, for example,


I then have to design a machine that's going to put together anywhere from maybe six to 25 parts. And usually the cycle times are, you know, five to six seconds. So it might be a palletized conveyor line, it could be a rotary index dial, it could be any number of things. But every five or six seconds, we need to assemble let's say a Chevy door handle or a Ford f150 door handle or whatever it might be cheese and enemy. And these days, the same door handle fits on multiple platforms. So it's you know, pi Chevy, suburban Tahoe, Yukon, etc. Silverado or whatever it might be. But one of the last machines I did large machines I did for the automotive industry were assembling f150 door handles every five seconds. And it was I can't even I can't even wrap my mind around that. It was five I just can't I'm sorry, I just like that is innovative. I just can't wrap my mind around. Well, it was just spectacular. I mean the statistics as best I can. And this is about a decade ago, but it was only five, five and a half seconds. The most complex version had 36 parts in it. Because between the grip, the pin, the spring, the shock, the dampeners, the bezel, the back frame, the keyhole, the keypad, the retaining pins and springs to hold everything together. And it was all lean manufacturing. So we could do a red door handle for the front right of a four door and then a green door handle for the back left of a four door. And then we could have a right driver side door handle with a keyhole without a keypad. Any combination totally lean quality checks along the way. And then the robots would palletize them accordingly so that the last pallet going on the semi was the first one coming off and it would go right on the final production of the door panel assembly or the line assembly at the Ford plant. See I'm just telling you right now if that doesn't get your skin a little tingly because you've recognized


That, that it is through the ability to be able to collaborate with these, like companies like yours to be able to be able to do this. It is just it's and, and the simple fact that you're creating these things, and you realize the economy and the auto industry, if you create a dork it


Oh, my ears bleeding. Yeah. And it's what happened. And I mean, it's really amazing. We're kind of the the tail on the end of the dog, right? We're taking any, we're taking 50 some parts, not counting colors, uniqueness's and that kind of thing. And we're I mean, we're just simply assembling them, we're not even manufacturing, the components themselves, they come to us. So we take a spring, we take a piece of plastic, we paint, you know, we take a keyhole or lock cylinder or something. And we're just putting them on putting them together and assembling them. There's an entire production line before that, that even manufactures and delivers and ships the product.


Yeah, so getting down to the bills of material, right? Imagine as a mechanical engineer, you're you're responsible for designing a machine that has will will take a guess I don't know that I ever counted but 70 80,000 unique components, right, I'm designing a machine for a part I've never seen before. So I design a nest I've never seen before I design hard to only, you know, robot end of arm tooling, there was presses, there were glue dispensers, there was everything. And it's basically all custom certainly purchase some things and ABB robot, for example, you can purchase some at 20. And kind of doing Erector Set framing and guarding. But we had, you know, torch, or we had plates that were torching out, machining down, lots of fixtures, lots of hard tooling. And all of that has never been before been designed to because it's for an assembly machine that's never been for but built. That's for a part that's never before been, you know, designed or made. And so the the great challenge, when I was a full time design engineer, my boss would come to me and say, you know, to meet deadline, or the shop is slow, or we got to get a jump on this, you designer give me parts so that the shop can make them. And from a designer standpoint, I my response is always well the designs not done. And my boss is like, well, we need some linear. So give them this frame, give them this base plate like is that part gonna change. So then as a designer,


actively designing a machine, I have to keep track of what's on the order, you know, what's on the shop floor, what what has the 10 week lead time that already had to start being maybe made or even bought, right robots have 1012 week lead time sometimes. So we might have bought the robot. So now I can't change the design too much less the robot not fit or not work.


So there's a very, very complex bill of material management problem not only in the design itself, right? How many 12 millimeter proxies Do I need to sense the 17 functions on this machine, in various sub assemblies in various quantities. But so there's there's a very complex build material management challenge, but it gets infinitely more complicated. When you are incrementally ordering a designing right, if I've ordered the frame, then I have a bill of material that has the frame on order, but then the Bill of Material changes. So now I have two bill of materials that don't match the one the bill material from last week when I ordered the frame and other parts and the bill of material from this week that doesn't match so I have to match those up. And then I have to carry over what was ordered and what wasn't so then I have to order more or cancel some or replace some more increased quantities or decreased quantities. And I have to interrupt here because this is all with this particular line. This this analogy this example is of you designing something new to be able to deliver a product at the end and be able to do it efficiently meeting whatever time specifications quality specifications, and in a big probably becomes your flexibility to be able to manipulate that line becomes less flexible as you progress down that road well and be able to and I'm also on that particular project, that f150 door handle project I was also working with four other designers. So right you know, element, right i mean a different designer could change something that affects my components or my bill of material without me knowing about it and then what gets ordered doesn't fit. So I mean there's always reworks there's always oh that part no longer fits I forgot to change something or I changed something and forgot to document or a document and I forgot to tell somebody I told somebody but it was already made. And you add the one of the great challenges of custom automation or custom anything machine building automation or otherwise, is at the end of the day when you start bolting it together, figuring out what parts you don't need that got ordered. What parts you do need that didn't get ordered what parts that did get ordered that were wrong or changed.


And what doesn't bolt together?


And then I've been I've been in this industry my entire life, I've done it. Since, like I said before I had a driver's license. And at the very end of the assembly, do we have the parts? Where are they? Are they correct and do they bolt together is, you know, always two or three weeks before the machine is supposed to be done. And it's all hands on deck. It's a total scramble it's, it's, it's absolutely insane, depending on the size of the project, and how well it's managed, if you don't have a good bill of material management and integration. So with that said, What are the solutions? Man, you my talk is already tight listening to you, and all the challenges that exist associated with pulling this together and getting the right bomb out there. What do you what...