Few, if any, machine tool OEMs can claim that 97% of parts orders ship the same day they are received. Mazak is one that can and does because we understand that every minute you have to wait is potentially lost production time.
But how is our North American Parts Center able to get parts out in such a short time when other OEMS may take weeks? This is largely thanks to excellent parts support from employees as well as the ultra-efficient vertical lift module (VLM) storage systems in the Parts Center stock room. From the moment an order is received to the time the package is ready to ship takes a mere half an hour on average, and this is possible because there are several key steps in place that streamline the process.
1. You Place Your Order
You can request a part through several channels. Place an order online through PartsWeb 24/7, call toll free to 888-4MAZAK1 (888-462-9251), email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax your order to 859-342-1350. Mazak assures same-day shipment for parts ordered as late as 7:00 pm Monday through Friday or 2:00 pm on Saturday. Mazak’s call center is operational six days a week for our customers’ convenience, Monday through Friday until 7:00 pm and 2:00 pm on Saturday.
2. Parts Support Employees Verify Your Order
When you order online, employees check to ensure the part you want is in stock. Mazak will then send you an email to notify you that your parts are in stock and when they will ship, or they will let you know if your part is on backorder. Likewise, when you place an order over the phone, an experienced employee works with you to validate your information. Support staff read order emails and verify those as well.
3. Your Order Is Sent to Fulfillment
After orders are entered, data is transmitted into the stockroom that houses over 50,000 different parts. Mazak’s automated system ensures the right parts are picked, packed and sent to your door.
4. Mazak’s Automated Part-Picking System Goes Into Action
Once orders are received in the stockroom, each order is assigned to a tote with a fixed license plate and is placed on a conveyor in the front end of the system. The tote travels from workstation to workstation to collect parts.
When a tote arrives at a workstation, one of the two picking operators scans it and then scans a light on the batch station to associate the tote with the corresponding light in the software. The operator can pick eight orders simultaneously.
Mazak’s 15 VLM storage systems get to work retrieving parts. Mazak strategically stocks each VLM tray and organizes trays within the module to maximize efficiency. Each tray contains parts of similar height and size, and some trays hold over 300 part numbers. Mazak spreads high-use parts evenly across all 15 modules so that each VLM is used with a similar frequency and they all move simultaneously to speed order fulfillment. High-use parts are stored on trays in the bottom half of VLMs so the lifts don’t take as long to move trays that are needed often.
Within each workstation, the VLMs move to deliver the product to the operator, and a customer specified barcode part label is printed. A light bar on the front of a VLM tray directs the operator to the part location and how many pieces to pick. The operator picks the product, attaches the printed barcode label and turns around to place it into the correct tote or order as directed by the lights on the batch station. The operator then picks the next part presented by the VLM. This is repeated until the order has all parts required from that workstation.
When an order is complete, the lights direct the operator to push the tote back onto the conveyor, where it either gets routed to packing or into another workstation downstream for further fulfillment. Shipping information is automatically forwarded to the pack area, as well as to overnight shipping carriers to speed package pickup and delivery. Underneath the conveyor is another conveyor system for empty tote returns. It cycles the totes back to the front of the system to further increase the operation’s efficiency.
5. Wait! I Forgot Something
If you realize you need another part after you’ve already placed an order, you have a brief window to modify your order. Support staff monitor your order status as it moves through fulfillment. They even have visibility into exactly where your order is on the conveyor. If you contact the parts department within 20 minutes of your initial order placement, they will typically be able to make your requested change. After that, your order will likely already be on its way out. If you are unable to modify your order, the parts department will be happy to add a new order, so you can get what you need right away.
6. Fulfillment Employees Pack Your Order
Four employees prepare orders for shipment. They each check the picked parts against the original order to ensure accuracy and carefully pack them.
7. Your Order Is On Its Way
It’s been about 30 minutes since you originally placed your order, and now your parts are packed and ready for the next UPS or FedEx pickup.
Mazak implemented its advanced automated parts system to decrease your down time as much as possible in the event that your machine needs unscheduled maintenance. And with 97% same-day parts shipment, it delivers on its promise to provide quick responses to parts requests, not only for machines purchased over the past several years, but also to those that have provided reliable performance for several decades.