From Slicing Cutting-Tool Spend to a Better Night's Sleep

  • Idaho Steel's president reports a "conservative estimate" of $67,000 in savings - and 1,200 man-hours saved - per year, due to elimination of cutting-tool stockouts.

  • A.Y. McDonald's industrial engineering manager says, "Now I sleep a lot better at night" since he doesn't have to worry about stockouts of cutting tools - and the company is no longer spending thousands more than needed.

  • Precision Manufacturing and Engineering has greatly reduced downtime as well as costs of cutting tools and other MRO items and PPE, according to the shop superintendent.

    The common thread? PME's Wayne Summers offers a not-so-subtle hint.

    "I plan to vend anything that can be vended," said PME's Wayne Summers.

    All three companies recently added industrial vending solutions by Apex Industrial Technologies, primarily to reduce their cutting-tool spend, from taps and end mills to inserts, welding tips, sand belts and grinding discs and wheels.

    And they all saw similar, and immediate, results:

  • Reduction of MRO and PPE spend

  • Elimination of overstock

  • Elimination of stockouts

  • Reduction of downtime

  • Elimination of purchase orders

  • Elimination of hoarding

  • Increased productivity

  • Increased trackability and control

    Case studies on each of the three companies' use of Apex industrial vending can be found at

    The Edge 5000 machines are placed at the point-of-work, dispensing mission-critical and high-use, high-cost supplies, parts and tools. The system features easy installation with Apex's Connect n' Go(TM) technology. The C3i Hub watches over the flow of materials and automatically manages, tracks and controls everything from drill bits and grinding wheels to safety gloves and batteries.

    And the Apex system does not utilize MS Windows, which eliminates many of the downtime issues of previous-generation industrial vending machines. All that's needed is a 110V outlet and an Internet connection.

    One way spend has been reduced is by the elimination of hoarding.

    "There are no stashes anymore. The machines police that," said A.Y. McDonald's Tim Piggott.

    Stockouts would bring production to a halt.

    With the knowledge that the tool crib would eventually run out of inserts, workers naturally began to "stash" inserts at their work areas, according to Piggott. "So people would then have to re-supply their stashes."

    That meant A.Y. McDonald had to buy more inserts than necessary, as inserts were hoarded at work areas - while at the same time the tool crib was out of stock.

    When the company ran out of, or couldn't locate, mission-critical inserts, there was a drop in production as well as the added expense of expediting a rush shipment of inserts. Management's attention was diverted from production to tool searches and expediting.

    "They've definitely saved us both productivity and money," said Idaho Steel Purchasing Manager Ryan Westergard. "That's obvious. There's no question. It's worked great."

    "The big thing is that it's made guys more accountable for consumables," he said. "Tracking was the main goal. We can make sure they're using everything properly and getting all the life out of each item."

    Before, there was no way to track by employee.

    "Now if one welder is using $200 worth of something and another doing the same job is using $400, we can ask why," Westergard said.

    For more information, go to

    Thomas Barr

    Director of Corporate Communications

    7300 Central Parke Blvd.

    Mason, OH 45040

    1-800-229-7912, ext. 2117

    1-513-204-2117 (Direct Line)
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