Graphcom’s relationship with Volvo CE began in 1992 with what was then called Ingersoll-Rand (IR).*
In the early 1990s, IR had an in-house print shop responsible for producing operations, parts and service manuals to accompany the various types of heavy equipment manufactured by the company. But the following problems existed:
- Highly skilled, highly paid engineers and technical writers were standing at photocopiers and coordinating print materials.
- Large quantities of obsolete manuals had to be destroyed each time an engineering change took place and technical service bulletins had to be mailed to customers notifying them of the changes.
- Enormous racks filled with various items that needed to be shipped with the machines, such as repair manuals, cluttered the company’s facilities. All of these items were procured from various suppliers.
IR invited Graphcom to design a better plan for dealing with the printing, kitting and distribution of technical materials.
Graphcom created a comprehensive communications system that enabled the company to not only be involved in the build schedule for operations, parts and service manuals but also oversee procurement functions of all kit items that were being purchased by IR.
Deploying this effort began with the acquisition of an entire big-rig trailer filled with engine manuals and various third-party components of IR in late 1992. Graphcom took those materials and instituted the kitting process. Procedures were put into place that would enable materials to be printed only as they are needed. Procurement efforts for all kit items were handed over to Graphcom personnel.
With these systems in place, Graphcom and IR jointly evaluated their effects. First, Graphcom’s print management solution enabled IR’s team of technical writers and engineers to continue their revisions on an ongoing basis without affecting print operations. Technical service bulletins under IR’s previous system became virtually nonexistent. Spoilage was eliminated; precious manufacturing space was reclaimed, and technical writers and engineers returned to performing their core functions.
With procurement efforts in place for all kit items previously purchased by IR, Graphcom reduced internal procurement costs and streamlined processes. According to reports, Graphcom’s system saved IR an estimated more than $100,000 in the first year alone.
The news of this communications system spread to other IR divisions, and Graphcom soon entered into print and distribution arrangements with Blaw-Knox pavers in Mattoon, Illinois, and IR Drilling Solutions in Garland, Texas.
Graphcom continues to supply format manuals for Volvo CE. Manuals and kits continue to be shipped “just in time” as dictated by their respective build schedule.
Over the years, many quality and speed improvements to the system have evolved, and Graphcom is continually measured and challenged to reduce cost and time to market. True to form, Graphcom has remained among the highest ranked suppliers for Volvo CE for more than 20 years.
* Since the late 1990s, various acquisitions and mergers occurred within IR, resulting in the acquisition of Ingersoll-Rand by Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) in 2007.