Can you describe your activity at the Wal-Mart Optical Lab in Dallas?
Here at the lab we have 380 associates who provide surfacing, AR, and finishing services to over 600 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores. We supply several districts with our products, approximately 85% of our volume is in finished product.
You have installed a MIBVP8 and MCBVPU in your lab. What areas of your process have been affected by these installations?
The merging of the inspection technology with the lens blocking has had a side effect of teaching more of our personnel about optics, and increasing adherence to quality standards. The high level of accuracy and repeatability has enabled us to use the equipment to validate and test new concepts in manufacturing. In fact, we now derive all our surfacing practices using data from the machines. It also reduces operator judgment call issues – now we run by a very exact set of standards.
How has the installation of the machines helped you achieve your goals? What are your future goals, and how will A&R equipment help you get there?
After the installation, we noted that our jobs per hour increased dramatically, resulting in a higher volume produced with the same staff. In fact, with this equipment, we were able to redistribute over 25 associates (through four shifts) to other bottleneck areas. The result of this was immediately apparent – during the back to school rush, we were not required to hire temps; and when our finishing and AR numbers grew, we did not need to bring in additional associates. Because of the increased accuracy of the machines, we had less jobs rejected by the stores for power problems. In the future, we would like to continue to increase volume to over 28,000 jobs per week, at which point we would require a new inspection/blocking machine from A&R to support that volume.
Can you quantify how much your business has increased due to the installation of the A&R equipment?
Our current annual average jobs per week has risen from 21,200 last year to a level of 23,700; with peak volume reaching 28,000 jobs per week for three weeks running.
How did the Return On Investment analysis for this equipment affect your capital expenditure process?
It was simple, really. The analysis we did included maintenance costs, labor costs, consumables costs, and resulted in a significant cost per job reduction. When any capital equipment purchase achieves payoff in less than 8 months, as ours did, it makes the decision to buy very, very easy.
Karl, thank you for your time, and we look forward to hearing from you in the future!
Interview by Laurent Loeckx and Scott Small.
Thanks to Karl Lauther and Otis Taylor