June 1, 2014
For those of us on the Northeast Coast of the United States summer has finally arrived after a long, cold, snowy winter. Please accept our best wishes for a safe and enjoyable summer! I’m excited to report on our progress toward the strategic direction that was outlined in the October 2013 issue. For those of you who might have missed it, here is a quick summary along with current activities that support each initiative:
#1 – Drive expenses down through continual process improvement and enhancement of our core products and services.
- Completed implementation of two electric drive systems to service low and medium speed ranges (25,000 RPM and 65,000 RPM). Result: Lower LCF test costs, reduced load on air compressors.
- Our focus on continual process improvement includes:
- Refining our estimation process. Result: More competitive and accurate estimates.
- Streamlining our shop processes (travelers and checklists). Result: Better – control, less people time, greater capacity.
- Tightening profit controls, shorten month-end close by 50%. Result: More profitable, better managed and stable company.
#2 – Build adequate capacity to accommodate expected growth in our testing business.
- Completed the implementation of new lathe and milling equipment with advanced CAM capabilities. Result: Increased internal machining capacity, better schedule control, lower project costs.
- Approved purchase of X-Y crane system for production floor. Result: Streamlined production process, greater turn rates with same staff, easy to reconfigure line.
#3 – Evolve core capabilities, equipment and methods to better suit more challenging test requirements.
- Fielded next generation crack detection system. Result: Better capability, easier user interface.
- Nearing first prototype of advanced air jet excitation system for HCF. Result: Higher strain amplitudes at higher temperatures and frequencies.
- Beginning USAF-funded program to drive hot sub-scale rotor testing to 1,500F – 2,000F. Result: Better support of new rotor material testing.
- Tip rub test rig conceptual design completed: Result: Capability to test new blade materials and components.
- Completed in-pit balancing upgrade: Result: More user-friendly system, two-plane capable.
#4 – Enhance our support and service offerings with a broader focus on customer success.
- Revised logging and tracking process for equipment support. Result: Shortened response and resolution times, better documentation and configuration control.
- Implemented weekly percentage spent and percentage complete review processes for projects. Result: Better assure cost and schedule compliance.
I’m thrilled to announce the following organizational changes that will help to assure the accomplishment of our strategic initiatives:
- David Woodford has assumed management of our production operations, which include testing as well as equipment.
- We will be leveraging Bill Hale’s 20-plus year history with our company and deep understanding of our customers and processes to head our quality department. Besides maintaining our ISO and AS compliances, Bill’s main focus will be continual process improvement.
- Hiro Endo has assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer. Hiro maps the course of our technology and services. He also oversees the continual improvement of our engineering processes and practices.
- Nikhil Kaushal has assumed leadership responsibilities for our Design Engineering Group. Nikhil has proven himself on many extremely challenging tests, gaining the respect of his peers. He also brings unique management skills to the position.
As always, I gratefully accept and encourage your input and feedback as we strive to better meet the needs of our customers.