When selecting a critical component for a machine, sometimes the component’s real value comes from the relationship you build with your supplier. This has become even more true since the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed many supply chains to their limits. Here’s how we recently provided a customer with a steady supply of needle roller bearings, preventing costly production delays.
The customer is a leader in turbine technology for the maritime and construction industries. The company purchases an IKO shell-type needle roller bearing without an inner ring for the gearheads it uses inside its air starters for piston engines. The open enclosure design makes the needle bearing suitable for heavy load applications requiring low-speed rotation, such as this gearset.
The air starter manufacturer was unable to manage its inventory of needle roller bearings due to pandemic-related disruptions to the supply chain. The issue was particularly difficult to address because the needle roller bearing was not an “off-the-shelf” product. That caused the company to consider an alternative means of expediting bearing shipments in order to receive them in time to maintain production. One option was to choose air freight instead of boat shipments. Although air freight expedites delivery, it can be expensive.
Fortunately, the starter manufacturer had a second option that comes from choosing a needle bearing supplier that also collaborates with its customers to solve problems.
IKO targets three months minimum inventory to support production increase from stock, and we worked with the manufacturer to create a two-year blanket order to ensure a much longer pipeline of needle bearing deliveries. IKO was also able to provide a modified version of a standard part per the customer’s specifications without missing a beat. Not only did the agreement offer greater peace of mind, it allowed our partner to optimize its inventory management while saving cost compared to air delivery. While other needle bearing suppliers can provide a similar bearing and meet the customer’s price requirements, we provided the added value of a collaborative effort to professionally address a difficult situation.
Today the blanket order is saving 11 to 13 months in lead times for the air starter manufacturer. With the steady production made possible through our partnership, the manufacturer has grown its customer base. Thanks to our help with inventory control and management, along with the quality of the bearing, we are now discussing ways to further expand our partnership.
Committed to Your Success
This success story demonstrates how IKO not only provides high-quality bearings and motion components, but we also go beyond traditional customer service. From prompt delivery to collaborating with our partners to solve problems, IKO is committed to your success.
For more information about IKO needle roller bearings, visit the product page.