Quality Fabricated Solutions
At Quality Fabricated Solutions (QFS), the overarching mission is to always deliver on company promises, from producing parts on time to responding quickly when changes arise.
“We have to find ways to be different from everyone else,” says Charley Powers, president and co-owner of QFS, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. “My goal is to make our customers look better to their customers than our competitors can.”
That goal is paying off for Powers and his team — including two CNC programmers and six shop-floor staff — who produce parts primarily for the military sector, as well as conveyor and tractor-trailer accessory businesses.
“When my customers have a problem, if they need something or have an emergency, they have my cell phone number,” Powers says. “We’ve been able to take a lot of work from shops much larger than ours just because we can respond so much faster.”
After QFS opened in 2014, Powers quickly found ways to increase efficiency by retooling company processes, including those for material and data management, CNC machinery and software, and others.
Among improvements were the integration of an ERP system and the purchase of the Radan CAD/CAM solution for sheet metal, by Vero Software. As a former machine-tool salesman, Powers is familiar with several different types of CAM solutions, including Radan.
“Ninety-five percent of all of our parts go across the turret or the laser, and I can’t run either of them without Radan.”Charley Powers, president and co-owner
While he initially chose Radan for its powerful profiling capabilities, Powers found that it was the “best for profiling, punching, and forming,” and an ideal fit for QFS because he wanted one solution that could handle all of the company’s programming needs.
“I needed software that was very user friendly and that allows us to grow without having to be a genius to run it,” Powers says. “Ninety-five percent of all of our parts go across the turret or the laser, and I can’t run either of them without Radan.”
The company recently added punching capabilities and will soon add a press brake to its programming lineup. A new Accurpress press brake was chosen in part because of the machinery’s seamless integration with Radan.
“One of the reasons I picked Accurpress is they have had success with the Radan offline bending software for their press brake controls,” Powers says.
Jobs begin at QFS when purchase orders are entered into the company’s ERP system, which in turn generates a router, or job traveler, with vital job information. The plant manager then generates a daily manufacturing schedule based on due dates and hands it off to the company’s CNC programmers.
QFS sometimes receives customer designs in the form of solid models, which can be easily imported into Radan with geometry intact. Other customers supply designs on paper, which are redrawn in Radan using the software’s CAD capabilities.
QFS programmers generate nests whenever possible, which reduces both material costs and manufacturing time. To ensure an ideal result, Radan analyzes part shapes, materials and thicknesses for components to be nested on sheets, off-cuts or remnants.
The system’s powerful nest-editing tools provide an additional level of flexibility to users who wish to edit automatically generated nests. Radan also produces associated data so that shop-floor personnel can quickly and easily identify completed parts.
“We may have the parts of three different customers on one sheet, and we have a print-out that is generated by Radan that helps us match the parts with the prints,” Powers explains. “It shows how they’re nested, and it tells us the quantity.”
Powers, who handles all sales for QFS, also uses Radan as an estimation tool, as he can quickly determine accurate job costs based upon the solution’s ability to identify material needs.
“Nesting is fast and I do all of the quoting, so it’s nice that I can quickly determine what my material utilization will be. I use it not just to program, but also to help create my quotes.”
With customer service at the forefront of his activities, Powers notes that Radan’s nesting capabilities are an asset to be shared with his existing customers, as well as a money-saving bonus that can be used to increase his loyal customer base.
“If you can nest parts, you’re saving your customers money, and I typically pass on all my savings to my customers,” Powers says. Most significantly, the integration of Radan has helped the shop increase efficiency, set and enforce standards, and instill a high level of overall consistency.
Powers and his team also appreciate the level of support achieved by using Radan, which offers a responsive support staff dedicated to fulfilling the needs of customers. “I like Radan’s service and support because their staff respond quickly and are easy to work with. I also like the fact that they have an online support portal, which is also very helpful and responsive.”
Customer service is simply second nature to Powers, who is enjoying the fruits of his efforts. While QFS earned over $400,000 in sales in 2014, the company grew to over $600,000 in 2015 and over $1 million in 2016. In other words, his investment in process improvement is paying for itself.
“It can be challenging, but I enjoy this job more than any that I’ve ever had, and the changes we made to the way we do things — including Radan — has made all the difference,” Powers says. “With our added growth, we are also looking at moving into a larger space for more forming and welding capacity.”
About the Company
Name: Quality Fabricated Solutions (QFS)
Business: Metal fabrication and custom parts manufacturer
- Ability to program all of the company’s machinery with a single solution
- Advanced nesting capabilities and more efficient material utilization
- More accurate and efficient quoting process
- Increased savings for customers
“Ninety-five percent of all of our parts go across the turret or the laser, and I can’t run either of them without Radan.”
Charley Powers, president and co-owner