PARTNERSHIP BEYOND TOOLINGPrecision-parts manufacturer Tonasco has a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Partnering with the Seco Consultancy service has allowed the business to further raise productivity and reduce tooling costs.
MALAYSIA-BASED CONTRACT manufacturer Tonasco has an enviable reputation for delivering high-quality precision parts.
The company’s production facilities are based in Bukit Jelutong Technology Park in Shah Alam, just outside of Kuala Lumpur, and parts produced here are exported primarily to the European market. Tonasco’s main customers are in the production automation machinery sector, including automationsolution providers in Germany and the Netherlands.
About 18 months ago, Tonasco’s executive team, Toon Moors and Lin Sheau Wei, noticed that customers were requesting increasingly complex parts and, as a result, the production processes at the plant were gaining in complexity. To further raise the quality of their products and service, the pair began looking for new ways to enhance Tonasco’s production processes. “We are continuously trying to innovate,” explains Lin. “We are always looking for ways to prepare ourselves for new technological advances and to increase our competitive advantage.”
At about the same time, Seco approached Tonasco with an offer. Would the company be interested in being one of the first in Asia to try Seco Consultancy, a service where Seco experts analyze the whole of a business’s production process to look for inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement?
“We are constantly looking for ways to reduce our prices, and to do this the company needs to become more and more efficient,” says Moors. “We realized that it made sense to get an outsider to look at our production organization and give us ideas for how to improve.”
Lin adds, “Over the eight years that we have worked with Seco we have always been impressed by their knowledgeable and professional staff. Their value-adding training has also been very good. And we wanted more.” Tonasco said ‘yes’.
NOW 18 MONTHS ON, partnering with Seco Consultancy services has helped Tonasco significantly improve tool- use efficiency, streamline production processes and to raise productivity. “I’m happy with what has been accomplished,” says Moors. “We already had a smoothly running operation, but now things are running even more smoothly. Because we’re producing one-offs, it’s difficult to measure efficiency, but I estimate productivity has improved by five percent and we have also significantly reduced tooling costs.”
Lin explains the process of improving efficiency began in January 2017. Phase One involved Seco consultants visiting the Tonasco production facility, studying processes and making some preliminary suggestions. Phase Two began in August 2017, with a Seco team working on-site with Tonasco to optimize production processes. The cooperation is continuing in 2018, with Phase Three examining ways to further optimize production.
Moors says while some of the suggestions from Seco have been simple, others have required more work to implement. “One of the easiest was having a briefing every morning to discuss problems, rather than once a week,” he says. “But we also began analyzing tool wear patterns and changing our cutting parameters and our CAD/CAM cutting strategies. Other changes related to how we stored our tools. So, it’s much more than just tooling.”
MOORS EXPLAINS staff responded extremely positively to the changes – testament to the working culture at Tonasco and the professional, knowledgeable and very experienced Seco staff. “Most of the people here are very interested in the changes and getting knowledge from a high-end tooling supplier,” he says. “People wanted to hear what Seco has to say and be a part of the discussion.”
The team at Tonasco say they are more than happy to keep working with Seco Consultancy for as long as it continues to improve their efficiency and profitability. “We specialize in producing highly customized, often one-off high-precision metal components, a niche segment in the metal fabrication industry,” says Moors. “It’s not easy to come across a consulting company like Seco who really understands us. What we get from Seco is very relevant expertise and experience on how to optimize in our industry – and that’s really unique and valuable.”