In today’s competitive landscape, some big companies have started to eliminate relationships and base all purchases on lowest price. That’s a philosophy that simply doesn’t fit with who we are here at Wisconsin Oven. Over 50% of our annual order intake comes from repeat customers. If you really want to be successful in today’s business environment, you had better do everything in your power to maintain and strengthen the relationships you have.
But how do you do that? Is it simply a matter of checking off the boxes in your order process? Think for a minute about the companies that you’ve formed strong relationships with as a customer. What makes them stand out in your mind? Typically, it’s the people who went above and beyond that capture your attention, and your loyalty.
We believe in making sure that every customer gets a “WOW” experience. From their first visit to our facility to our communication after their project is completed, we strive to make each customer feel like our most important customer. That means listening more than we speak. It means neat facilities, and polite, happy employees. It means on time delivery of a product that screams extraordinary quality, and a follow up with genuine concern that all expectations have been met. And we make sure never to be “done” with a customer. We stay in touch and offer extraordinary service—forever.
There are few rules that hold true across every business, regardless of industry. But taking care of your customers is one of the few. A quality, long lasting relationship enriches both parties, and leads to long term success. And though their specific requirements may change, the general sentiment of what customers want has always been the same—quality and dedication. Provide those two things, and success will surely follow.
The Work of Champions program is an initiative here at Wisconsin Oven to recognize and reward the performance of employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. Whether they’re working overtime to take care of a customer, saving the company money by producing quality work in remarkable time, getting letters of praise from customers or making suggestions that will benefit customers, employees or the company at large, we feel it’s imperative that those efforts be recognized.
A Champion attitude is built into Wisconsin Oven. The President of the company, as well as many of our managers, began their employment here in the 80s and 90s at entry level positions. They possessed a “whatever it takes” attitude and achieved Champion performance, resulting in customer satisfaction, growth and success.
As part of the program, we make sure to provide information to all members of our team. We communicate all news good and bad, from how we’re performing to information on our profitability, order intake and outlook for the future. They make it happen, so they need to know how we’re doing.
We encourage our employees to play like champions every day, to give everything they do 110%, and appreciate the importance of our customers. And the best thing about the Work of Champions program? Our employees give us plenty of opportunities to celebrate.
We ask our employees to remember that without our customers, we don’t exist. And just as true as that, is the fact that without our employees we wouldn’t exist either. No matter who you are, being recognized for being a good person and a good performer makes you feel good, and if our employees feel good, chances are so will our customers.
Here at Wisconsin Oven we perform uniformity testing on new equipment in our facility, as well as existing equipment in the field.
In the case of new equipment, a Temperature Uniformity Survey Procedure is generated after an order is placed that clearly documents the procedure we will follow for testing the oven. This is then sent to the customer for their review and signature to help ensure all parties have a clear understanding of what is expected prior to the launch of the project. Our philosophy here at Wisconsin Oven is to clearly show the details of the uniformity testing we propose with our equipment. We work with our customers extensively prior to purchase to propose equipment that will meet or exceed their requirements.
In the case of existing equipment, numerous factors can play a role in requiring a particular piece of equipment to need re-testing and/or re-adjusting. Examples of factors that can impact the uniformity of the work chamber include:
- Damage to the control thermocouple
- Replacement or calibration of control thermocouples or temperature controller instrument
- Damage or modification to the interior supply or return ducts
- Change of ambient conditions, which may include atmospheric changes which cause the pressure within the facility to be more positive or negative, or temperature changes of the ambient shop air
- Modifications to the recirculation blower
- Modifications to the exhaust outlet/fresh air inlet system, which may include the addition of filters, or the amount of air exhausted from, or fresh air brought into, the oven
- Major maintenance, which may include cleaning burners or replacing heating elements
In the case of re-testing, our technicians will come to your facility to perform the uniformity test. We offer this service on ovens manufactured by Wisconsin Oven, as well as those produced by other oven manufacturers. Our focus on customer understanding and thorough documentation is just as true of our field work as it is of our in-house testing for new equipment purchases.
Uniformity testing provides peace of mind. When you know that your oven is functioning as it should, you can be confident in the quality of each and every component you manufacture. Even duplicate built equipment can test differently and as such, every oven should be tested to verify that the work chamber maintains a proper temperature spread and produces components within required tolerances. At Wisconsin Oven our focus is not only on providing top of the line uniformity testing, but also on working with our customers so that they have a thorough understanding of what goes into each test beforehand, and thorough documentation of the test to refer to afterwards.
More and more products these days require tighter manufacturing tolerances than ever before. Uniformity testing is a way to make sure that your industrial oven is maintaining the desired temperature throughout the entirety of the work chamber. This internal consistency translates into better overall product quality, and reduces the potential for scrap parts. Most importantly, it allows for control over and repeatability of your manufacturing process.
Here at Wisconsin Oven our technicians—the ones performing the testing—go through rigorous training procedures. These technicians are supported by internal teams who research the latest requirements and specifications most common to our customers’ industries. This research allows us to give our customers the right tools and features on their equipment purchase to meet today’s increasingly complicated uniformity requirements. For example, we’re well versed on what it takes to conform to AMS 2750E, a common specification many of our customers must follow.
To perform a Temperature Uniformity Survey our technicians set up sensors throughout the oven’s work chamber. Each sensor is linked to a temperature recording device to document the temperature at each location. The process begins by pinpointing the area that will best represent the center of the allowable temperature spread. This spread is the +/- temperature range set by our customer. After this is done, the test begins. The oven is first heated to the desired temperature. Then the temperature is recorded at each sensor. If there are any points that are not within the required tolerance, the oven is adjusted as necessary to deliver more air to any cold points, or to redirect air to lower the temperature in any areas that exceeded the allowable spread. This is repeated until all points are within the required tolerance, at which time the test is documented, saved, and sent to the customer for their records.
In Part 2 of our look at Wisconsin Oven’s uniformity testing services we’ll discuss what goes into determining uniformity testing procedures on new equipment purchases, as well as what conditions can lead to re-testing in the field.
Historically, composite manufacturing has been done through autoclave curing. However, due to high capital and labor costs many manufacturers have looked for alternatives. As a result, out-of-autoclave (OOA) processes have gained in popularity and adoption in recent years. Chief among these are resin transfer molding (RTM) and vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM).
OOA processes allow companies to institute cellular manufacturing protocols. This in turn allows for increased manufacturing flexibility and efficiency. As a result, manufacturers are freed from the size constraints typically associated with autoclave curing, and can process low production volumes. Reduced cycle times and lower operating pressure are additional benefits of OOA processes.
The driving forces behind the adoption of OOA composite manufacturing are the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Autoclave curing is most commonly used to manufacture composite parts and components for the aerospace industry. As a result, the Air Force and the DOD have turned their focus to OOA processes in an effort to achieve cost savings on future projects, many of which will likely be produced in small volumes with small budgets.
Top of the line equipment is a good starting point for any business looking to be competitive, but preventative maintenance is the secret to maintaining that competitive edge. It’s the difference between spotting an issue before it’s a problem, and waiting for a problem to turn into a crisis. And in an economy as tough as this one, who can afford a crisis?
And preventive maintenance doesn’t just keep your equipment working—it keeps it working at optimal levels. That means higher, more consistent product quality. It also means a machine that works efficiently, a bonus that lowers energy consumption and creates tangible savings. And that’s not the only unexpected cost reduction. Keeping things running means less things break, which results in far less capital spent on replacement parts. And by routinely checking your machine you can see parts that will need replacing in the near future, allowing you to order as you need rather than stocking up on spare parts you may never use.
All of this has a direct, positive effect on your bottom line. But preventative maintenance has one more gift left to give: customer retention. A machine that is always running optimally and never breaks down provides higher quality products, with no surprise delays. What this means for customers is a product they can count on, delivered in the time they expect. That creates trust, and there’s nothing more valuable than your customers’ trust in you and your business.
We’re knowledgeable people here at Wisconsin Oven with a lot of experience, and it’s our mission to put that knowledge and experience to use providing our customers with the perfect solutions for their applications. We manufacture industrial ovens, both standard and custom. But while we categorize some of our ovens as “standard,” we know that there’s rarely such a thing as a standard application. So there’s almost always some degree of customization that goes into our standard ovens.
And for the ovens we build from scratch, we can operate off of a finished customer design, or work with our customer’s requirements to design something completely new. No matter what, we sit down with our customer and walk through their intended application. We ask them questions we’ve learned to ask, to provide solutions before problems occur. The last thing anyone wants is to take the trouble of building—and more importantly purchasing—an oven, just to find out it can’t do the job it was designed for.
Once an oven is designed—a process that includes a healthy dose of back and forth with our engineering team to get everything up to snuff—it’s built and assembled. And once it’s assembled we take it for a test run to assess its quality. Customers can request temperature uniformity tests as well. We know how important temperature uniformity is, especially in more specialized applications, and we’ve been known to get the uniformity on our ovens down to +/- 5°F. Once the oven passes testing, it’s disassembled and shipped off to its new home.
We also offer installation and startup packages. We’ll assemble your machine, get it up and running and then train your employees on proper use. We’re here for you from start to finish, taking you from the initial concept to turning out a finished product in your factory. It’s a mix of experience and dedication you’re not likely to find anywhere else, but it’s standard operating procedure here at Wisconsin Oven.