This interview stems from an outreach initiative to our customers, asking them to tell us about their experience using VKS. If you would be interested in participating, please feel contact our marketing department.
ETE REMAN, a prominent member of the Manufacturing/ Automotive Aftermarket industry, started using VKS Pro in the summer of 2018 and has since successfully integrated it into their transmission remanufacturing plant. Located in the Milwaukee area, ETE REMAN is a producer of remanufactured automatic transmissions, which employs approximately 600 employees throughout its organization. Their commitment to their clients? To deliver remarkable customer service unmatched by others.
In the following interview, ETE REMAN gives us insight into how they have become the industry-leader they are today, and how they intend to use VKS to achieve further success.
The Abridged History of ETE REMAN
ETE REMAN’s history began in 1985 as ABC Auto Parts, a business opened by founder Sam Loshak. Engine Transmission Exchange was born when Loshak saw an opportunity in the remanufacturing of engines and transmissions. Seeing the benefit in specialization, the remanufacturing arm of Engine Transmission Exchange became ETE REMAN, focusing on the remanufacturing of automatic transmissions. Just recently, ETE has acquired ATSG (Automatic Transmission Service Group), expanding their technical knowledge, staff, research and development, and quality process.
Tell us a bit about your current manufacturing process.
ETE REMAN has a complex yet streamlined process that begins with a core: the used and non-operating transmission from a vehicle. The core travels throughout the production floor on the conveyor through our different departments, each focusing on a specific portion or process within the transmission. Teardown, parts washing, valve body, assembly, dyno, packaging, shipping, during these processes, a core is remanufactured, tested, and prepped for shipping to a shop. It will then be installed in a vehicle looking to get back on the road. Through experience, and the use of a high-tech conveyor system, departments work together to stock frequently sold units, as well as specially requested units. Team leads work together to improve processes, to communicate urgent needs, and to ensure the products we’re selling help vehicles get on the road as soon as possible.
What features interested your company the most in VKS?
Mainly the ease of authoring the work instructions and making them available to users. We were also interested in some of the additional tools that offered us benefits, such as the ToolConnect option and the reporting capabilities. We also enjoy the flexibility of being able to display the work instructions on various devices.
How did you learn about VKS?
We learned about VKS while searching online for a comprehensive system that would allow us to create and manage work instructions, training materials, parts consumption/inventory tracking, and provide us with advanced reporting capabilities.
How are you currently using VKS in your company?
We introduced VKS on one of our transmission lines. Since then, VKS has been integrated throughout the line for those working on valve body, inspection, packaging, and pump rebuilding. Each member of our production staff on that line has been assigned standardized work instructions that follow an approved process. The work instructions contain a time goal, supply list, and task checklist. Staff are able to view task-specific pictures, detailed task descriptions, and lists. They are also required to complete all steps before a job is considered done.
Can you tell us about any challenges that you want to solve using VKS?
There are two challenges we want to tackle with VKS. The first challenge is to implement a work instruction sharing system that will allow us to update content in a timely fashion. Using VKS, we are aiming to create work instructions, supporting documentation, and training materials for each production staff position. Workers will be able to access their information using tablets and computers at their work stations, resulting in a higher level of quality, more task repeatability, and a standardization of work practices.
The second challenge is to move away from paper forms and move towards an electronic platform. VKS is allowing us to incorporate electronic check sheets & other quality forms into work instructions, as well as stand-alone forms. That information will now be saved in a cloud-based system for record keeping and reporting.
Has VKS helped to capture tribal knowledge and best practices?
VKS enabled us to transfer our tribal knowledge to an electronic format. Previously the “how” of a process varied with the person who explained it. We can now standardize our training by capturing the correct information and sharing it.
What additional benefits have you seen arise from your use of VKS?
We have seen many benefits arise following the integration of VKS into our building and inspection processes: improved training documentation, standardized processes, and more accurate inventory. We have also noticed better employee attitude and increased role responsibility. In regards to information, we now have access to more data than we’ve ever had before. Being able to identify inefficiencies and errors, and then using that data to improve the quality of our transmissions and the confidence in our employees leads to benefits we know we’ll be able to measure over time and use of the product.
Additionally, because of ETE REMAN’s acquisition of ATSG, we’ve been given access to a huge library of transmission specifications, step by step build procedures, and graphical diagrams. By changing the terminology within the work instructions and documentation according to ATSG standards, we’re educating our staff, getting everyone on the same page, and using the most accurate & industry standard information.
How would you describe VKS as a software?
VKS is like a ball of clay. Being very flexible with many features, it can be formed pretty much into almost anything we want or need.
ETE REMAN is a perfect example of a company that is taking great strides on the Industry 4.0 path. Here at VKS, we are thrilled to see companies like this use our software to improve their production and grow thanks to the information brought to them by their data. While we look forward to following their success, we also pledge to continue our own growth so that we can be ready to help them surmount whatever challenges the future may hold.