METROL specialize in manufacturing Tool Setters & Precision Positioning Switches

Ultra precision position Swhitches  Metrol

Jul. 25, 2017

Small Metrol’s big ideas Part 1: Production edition

Staff Blog

In June 2016, Metrol celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding.

The 40 year history is a continual series of hardships and trials.
One of the reasons why we were able to overcome them is the “have-not administration” that thoroughly eliminates waste.

  • Offices and factories are rented.
  • About 70% of the total assets are liquid assets.
  • Tangible/intangible assets are 5% or less.

“Cash flow management responds quickly to changes in the external environment, enabling new investments to be made!”

This time, based on our unique management philosophy,
we’ll introduce some of our slim and unique mechanisms related to manufacturing;)

No. 1 Made-to-order production

Do you know how many products Metrol makes??
Actually, over 1,000!
(There are more than the website shows, you know)

Why are there so many types?
This is because we conduct made-to-order production starting at just 1 piece
for both domestic and overseas customers in accordance with customer requests.

Take a basic switch: we have a wealth of options for meeting various customers’ needs with various combinations!

It’s like taking a Barbie doll and dressing her up in dozens of outfits (lol)

As well, in order to produce new technologies and products we are constantly conducting research and development work.
With inquiries received in real time through social media or exhibitions in Japan or overseas, such as,

“Could you make this kind of switch?”
“I want this kind of new product!”

etc., our users provide us hints for what kind of new products we should develop.

No. 2 God only knows what the next order will be Planned production is complacency

Because 90% or more of our production is custom-made, we do not keep complete products in inventory.
We also do not plan our production 3 weeks in advance.

Our factory is always tense with attention to the slightest motion of the markets.

Is having the future undetermined worrisome?
No, planned production is just complacency and meaningless reassurance.

By not holding more inventory than is required, unnecessary stock or storage costs and other causes of worsened profitability are eliminated.

Instead, we hold sufficient stock of more than 10,000 pieces of subcomponents.
We also have a thorough system that enables parts to be made to order immediately.

No. 3 Master unification of all divisions, thoroughly managed with IT

We have 1,000 types of products and 10,000 precision components.
Is it time consuming and tiresome to be forced to manage inventory of this many parts?

Just thinking about it makes you dizzy:-/
But don’t worry.

Our order-based production system, “MRP (Material Requirements Planning),”
enables automatic and thorough management without waste!
When introduced, all branches, including R&D, manufacturing and sales, worked together to create a unified master system.

When an order comes in, the computer automatically pulls parts from stock and orders more if necessary.
Production staff receive instructions in units of 1 piece.

By doing this, it becomes possible to secure sufficient stock, shorten lead times and reply with an accurate delivery date.
Sales are roughly doubled compared to before MRP introduction, and yet the quantity of parts in inventory has not changed.

The switch to IT has enabled quick and accurate shipping of multi-model, small-lot, short-lead time orders from all over the world on a regular basis.

No. 4 Manufacturing is creating people

Speaking of “assembly work at the factory”,
you probably imagine a flow of work on a belt conveyor, right?

No, no, that’s not the case at all.
At Metrol, one person handles each product from the beginning to the end, adopting a “one-piece flow”.
According to the drawing, one person will take responsibility for preparation of parts, precision assembly, intermediate inspection through final bag packing.

Doing this helps staff to feel attached to the products they make, enabling responsibility and pride in the work.
This results in improvements to quality.

No. 5 Inconspicuous yet near at hand

Metrol industrial sensors are not sold at your local hardware store.
We do not usually see the name Metrol in our daily lives.

However, Metrol products work behind the scenes in production processes for automobiles, personal computers, semiconductors, robots, medical equipment, smartphone manufacturing and so on, contributing to work automation, prevention of defective products, and reduction of costs, silently supporting global manufacturing.

The truth is that Metrol products are involved in our daily lives as unsung heroes.

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