Supply Chain Management
A culture of improvement
To ensure the best possible order processing in our operational business, we apply strategic supply chain management adapted to the demands of our market and our product requirements. The result is delivery reliability and a high degree of flexibility. At Thomas, all involved parties – from suppliers to customers – are partners in the value chain. The optimum allocation of resources is our guarantee of efficient production and streamlined logistical processes.
With Industry 4.0, we are staying fit for the future. As the demands of the working world become ever more complex, the spotlight is increasingly turning to technical solutions. At the same time, the steady rise in the automation of production and controlling processes is helping us realize continual improvements as regards quality, costs, and benefits. By practicing a culture of improvement, we work towards this end day by day – starting with shop floor management and extending to the practical, on-site implementation of process optimization measures in partnership with our employees.
Thomas Process Technology – Digital processes for best-in-class results
Our refined Thomas Process Technology model (patent pending) represents our step into the future as part of the “Industry 4.0” process, which is aimed at digitizing the economy. For our Production team this involves ensuring that our manufacturing processes are optimally networked, on the basis of state-of-the-art information and communications technology. The result: customized, value-for-money, but nevertheless high-quality products.
Thomas Process Technology offers our clients specific benefits by enabling orders to be processed in a highly flexible way, ensuring optimal utilization of resources, and keeping production costs as low as possible while still achieving maximum quality.
With this modular production system we are able to produce all product variants in a rapid and flexible way – including the full product range from our “Thomas Design Standard” assembly kit system. By networking our Logistics, Production, Quality Assurance, and Order Management activities, we are making our entire production processes transparent and visually accessible at all times.
Logistics – Streamlined, flexible and high-frequency service
Working closely with Procurement, Warehousing, Production Line Supply, Dispatch, and Scheduling, our Logistics team is responsible for the smooth flow of materials and information through the entire value creation chain. As well as ensuring that materials are readily available so that Production can be supplied with precisely what it needs, this task also involves the ability to deliver goods in line with customers’ requirements as regards punctuality, quality, and cost. By setting and developing binding standards in these areas, Thomas is helping to enhance the quality and efficiency of overall logistical operations.
The guiding motto for our logistics chain is “streamlined, flexible, and high-frequency.” In order to extend our logistics capacities for the future, it is vital to optimize the flow of materials and information on an ongoing basis. Lower processing times guarantee a faster service to our clients. In addition, the fact that Thomas develops long-term partnerships between its vendors and its Purchasing and Quality departments also guarantees a solid basis for our cooperation on new projects in the future.
Technical Cleanliness – Maximum product cleanliness
Only products that are technically clean are guaranteed to function properly in the long term. This is why Thomas has developed a special cleanliness “toolbox” to ensure a reliable level of cleanliness in the production process. The tool allows us to adapt our components and product development processes to satisfy the cleanliness specifications of our customers, resulting in a technically clean and cost-effective product.
Typical measures to meet cleanliness specifications include, for example, overpressure in the production facilities to prevent particles in the air, cleanroom air showers for personnel, a ban on the use of Euro-pallets and wood, closed doors and windows, and sticky (dirt grabbing) mats at the thresholds to doors and gates. Our cleanliness standards are also at the core of our production process and must also be implemented at the plants operated by our sub-suppliers. A key area of focus for Thomas is to actively improve the production process with the aid of the above-mentioned cleanliness toolbox and by monitoring product cleanliness.
Plastics Technology – In-house expertise for streamlined costs
At Thomas, manufacturing our own plastics “in-house” is fundamental to ensuring cost-effective production. We can produce highly sophisticated plastic components and, using insert technology, encapsulate individual metal components to form functional groups. Arburg injection molding machines, with clamping forces from 25 to 200 t, enable the manufacture of a wide range of plastic products. The fully automated handling systems connected to these machines, including 100-percent inspection, provide the basis for products that fully satisfy customer quality requirements. Due to significant demand in the field of polymer technology, plastics production is constantly adapted and expanded.