precisionPrecision Coatings Inc. excels in its role as a Tier II supplier, and its niche offering highlights the entire supply chain’s importance.

Precision Coatings Inc. in St. Paul, Minn., is a small but seasoned provider of thermal spray coatings and PTFE non-stick, low-friction industrial coatings. The company offers full service supply and support to several Tier I companies in the United States and in Europe.


General Motors works hard to create stronger relationships with its supply base and improve vehicle quality. By Chris Petersen

General Motors Vice President of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain Steve Kiefer brought a unique perspective to the automaker’s supply chain when he joined the company about two years ago. After spending 20 years as a supplier to GM, Kiefer had the perspective and the experience to know what makes GM a successful partner to its vendors and suppliers, as well as where it needed to make improvements. Although the company continued to be one of the leaders in the automotive industry, its relationships with suppliers in terms of controlling costs, ensuring the highest levels of quality and driving innovation were not where the company wanted them to be.


Beazer Homes takes a local and regional approach to its supply chain while maintaining exclusive national partnerships. By Jim Harris

When it comes to its supply chain operations, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders believes in taking a local approach. “Regardless of where our headquarters is, we believe homebuilding is a local business, so our supply chain relies on local and regional distribution centers operated by our key partners,” says Chris Vanzant, vice president of central purchasing for Atlanta-based Beazer Homes.
    Beazer Homes’ supply partners and local subcontractors provide it with building materials, appliances and other items from their warehouses. The company has established relationships with a number of shippers and suppliers to ensure its homes receive materials and fixtures in a timely manner. “There are only a few large national homebuilders who warehouse their own materials,” Vanzant says. “We believe it’s better to let our suppliers manage that overhead than to do it ourselves.”


Supply chain management systems allow Jacobs to react to market shifts and improve procurement for customers. By Tim O’Connor

As a global company, Jacobs often has dozens of projects running for multiple clients simultaneously – including multibillion-dollar mega projects. Jacobs has the internal program management skills and access to diverse disciplines to serve those projects, including architecture, engineering and construction, operations and maintenance, as well as scientific and specialty consulting services.
    “We really are a very broad-based company where we have developed our skillsets to be aligned with what our clients’ needs are, and we follow our clients wherever they go,” Director of Supply Chain Management Doug Lockard explains.


Ming Cheng Precision Co. has become known around the world for its high-quality CNC machining solutions. By Eric Slack

Over its more than three decades of operation, Ming Cheng Precision Co. has grown into a highly regarded manufacturer. Based in Taiwan, the company is a supplier and exporter of precision turned parts, precision auto parts, precision shafts, electronic parts and milling parts. Known for strong performance in the industry, Ming Cheng is a CNC automation machining company that believes technology and service have allowed it to build a well-earned reputation for success with its customers.
    “We are a family company located in Taiwan,” Sales Manager Anny Lee says. “Our owner, Mr. Lee Yu-Ching, founded this company in 1984, starting with $10,000 for three secondhand screw machines.”


A supplier management system enabled Rittal to streamline communication and emphasize quality with vendors. By Tim O’Connor

The steel market today is in constant flux. Prices fluctuate every day and companies that use a lot of steel – such as IT enclosure, rack and accessory maker Rittal Corp. – must be willing to go anywhere to source materials. “We’re a global company, so we’re global thinkers,” says David Phillips, vice president of manufacturing and supply chain for Rittal’s North America division. “We stay on top of it as we’re watching the market.”
    A major advantage of having a global footprint is that Rittal’s regional entities can coordinate purchases to take advantage of the company’s buying power. If the German division, where Rittal has its global headquarters, is making a bulk steel purchase, the North American subsidiary can calculate the exchange rates, transportation costs, landed costs and other factors to determine whether it is worthwhile to piggyback on the order. The flexibility that a global perspective offers is one of the ways Rittal North America drives down its supply chain costs by 3.5 to 5 percent each year.


Textron Specialized Vehicles consolidates suppliers and cultivates its workforce to support its position as a leader. By Tim O’Connor

When launching new products, Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. ensures its supply chains are flexible so it can react to fluctuations in demand. The downside to that nimbleness is it becomes more difficult to manage inventory. The company is rising to the challenge by leaning on the expertise of its strong supplier base.
    The manufacturer, a Textron Inc. company, needs suppliers that can support quick product launches. Textron Specialized Vehicles’ new Stampede 900 4x4 vehicle –  part of its Bad Boy Off Road brand – went from a standstill in April to full manufacturing within only four weeks.


Strong ties and an ability to adapt help YESCO grow as a provider of custom signs and other display system solutions. By Eric Slack

Since 1920, YESCO’s goal has been to provide customers with the highest-quality signs and services. Although its industry has changed extensively over time, YESCO has never wavered in its effort to live up to that commitment.

“This is a very family oriented company,” Vice President of Supply Chain Management Brad Studdard says. “We now have about 100 locations, and franchises make up about half of our footprint.”

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