When Robert Klemm joined GIW Industries three-and-a-half years ago, all of the departments that today make up the company’s supply chain department operated mostly independently of each other. “Operations were fairly siloed between our production control, purchasing, strategic sourcing and inventory control departments,” says Klemm, the Grovetown, Ga.-based company’s supply chain management director.
“Today, we all support each other in an integrated process,” he adds. “One of the best things we’ve done in this company was to put all of those functions together and gain the cooperation of our plant management, project management, customer service and sales organization. This degree of cooperation and integration did not previously exist and is necessary for GIW’s continued growth.”
GIW’s project management, sales and customer service departments work directly with production control to place project and part orders. Production control coordinates the monthly production and shipping activities, while passing on ordering and inventory requirements to Supply Chain’s purchasing and inventory control departments. The product management department will also work with the strategic sourcing department directly when new products are being developed.
The company’s production control and sourcing functions also regularly communicate with other entities within the KSB Group, of which it is a subsidiary. KSB is one of the world’s largest producers of pumps, valves and related systems. “If another KSB subsidiary needs something from one of our vendors, they can order from that vendor directly, but they also notify us so we know what kind of capacity load we’ve placed on that vendor, so we don’t impact each other’s lead-times,” Klemm says. KSB companies will set project priorities among themselves if a vendor’s capacity is reached as a result of requests from multiple subsidiaries, or will qualify other vendors if necessary.
The company’s inventory control department ensures that it meets orders while avoiding waste. GIW employs a just-in-time strategy for inventory, and has an inventory turnover goal of eight times a year. “We make sure we have the right parts at the right time,” Klemm adds.
GIW is a global business and operates under the KSB corporate brand, while all slurry products are labeled under the umbrella of GIW® Minerals. GIW has two manufacturing facilities in Georgia and four service centers in North America where it maintains inventory. The company makes specially designed centrifugal pumps used to transport a mixture of liquids and solids called slurry. These slurry pumps are used in applications such as mining and dredging.
GIW produces up to 750 pumps per year; each GIW pump is extremely large in size, requiring multiple trucks to ship. “We’re not into mass manufacturing,” Klemm says. “What we do is make parts and pumps that weigh from several hundred pounds to over 40 tons.”
Because of the size of its products, GIW often contracts with outside manufacturers to complete the production of its components.
The company continues to enhance its manufacturing and other internal operations. GIW is building a new facility adjacent to its existing plants in Georgetown, Ga., that will more than double its production capacity when it opens its doors next year. The plant will expand the heat-treating and melting capabilities of GIW’s existing manufacturing operations.
GIW is also in the process of implementing SAP to better communicate across its facilities as well as with its counterparts in KSB Group.
Klemm credits GIW Management and the KSB Group for its investment in the company’s supply chain. “We’ve been able to meet our customers’ needs, reduce our lead-times and take costs out of our system while expanding and growing,” Klemm says. “When you can do those things at the same time, it’s really phenomenal, and I’m proud of our supply chain team and that we’ve been able to do that.”