Meet The VMAC Team: Pam Henselin, VMAC Inside Sales

Pam HenselinOur latest segment of our “Meet the VMAC Team” blog series features Pam Henselin. Pam is an Inside Sales Rep with over 10 years’ experience at VMAC. During her tenure, Pam has dabbled in a variety of roles at VMAC, including Marketing, Production, and Reception. Pam took a few minutes out of her busy day to answer some questions about her experience at VMAC and share some personal details as well.

WHAT DOES AN INSIDE SALES REP AT VMAC DO?

Our day-to-day varies, but we basically work to ensure our customers’ needs are well looked after. We answer phones, find parts and accessories, suggest and recommend solutions for air compressors and multi-power needs, quote systems, enter orders, and help our dealers with customer requests. We provide exemplary customer service and we want customers to know that they are in good hands, that they can count on us and trust us.

WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF YOUR JOB?

Helping customers find parts for their older systems is always an interesting challenge. It’s important to help source the part as quickly as possible to help them get their systems back up and running so they can continue on with their work.

I also enjoy learning about our customers, the type of the work they do, and what they like to do on their off time. It’s nice to have the opportunity to connect with our customers and dealers.

Tradeshows are also great because I have the chance to meet the people who I’ve been talking on the phone to for years!

ANY FUNNY MOMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?

There’s humour every day at VMAC, that’s what makes my job so enjoyable. I particularly enjoy the wrong numbers that we get from time to time. A retirement fund is one digit off from our number, so we get people calling to ask about their retirement fund. I just transfer the calls to the right number for them! We are also one number away from an alarm company and we handle these calls in the same fashion.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK AT VMAC?

I worked for a vendor to VMAC prior to joining the team. I always felt it was a warm and welcoming company to walk into and work with. I left VMAC for a brief few months in 2009 to try my hand at a different line of work, but I missed the people (both coworkers and customers), so when the opportunity to come back presented itself, I slid back into my old chair at my desk and picked up right where I left off!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO ON YOUR OFF-TIME?

Now that our kids have moved out (Alex, 29, Stephen & Scott, 25, yes, twins!), we’ve downsized, and I love to hang out at our half acre property in Cedar, just outside of Nanaimo. During the fall and winter we have weekly weekend bonfires with our grown-up kids, neighbours and our 17 month old grand-neighbour baby. During the summer months we love to camp around our beautiful island. We are heading out at the start of August for a 10-night trip.
My husband and I also play on a local mixed slow pitch ball time with our kids. I enjoy riding on my husband’s Harley, and gatherings with friends and family. My husband and I like to build outdoor furniture out of pallets and old truck tailgates for our friends and family. Thank you, Pinterest for the inspiration!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN NANAIMO?

I enjoy the slower paced lifestyle on the island. We moved here from Toronto, Ontario about 22 years ago, and at the time I was a bit culture shocked at only having one highway on the island, but now the shock goes the other way when we go to the mainland or back home to visit! Nanaimo was a fantastic place to raise our kids—we spent a lot of time camping on the west side of the island right on the beach.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

I’m looking forward to continuing to exceed our customers’ expectations. We’ve grown a lot at VMAC and we have a very strong team, ready to knock your socks off!

To learn more about VMAC’s sales team, including our Sales Manager, Jim Raymond, National Sales Reps, and the Inside Sales Team, visit our Find a VMAC Sales Rep page.

Related Blogs:  Meet The Team: Stuart Coker, Director of Operations 

VMAC Kanban: LEAN Manufacturing

VMAC Lean Series: Kanban

Kanban is a visual signal that’s used to trigger an action. Kanban is used as an inventory control system that relies on visual signals to indicate steps in an organization’s manufacturing process. Translated from Japanese, Kanban means “signboard” or “billboard”.

In a manufacturing application, Kanban begins when a customer’s order is received, and from there production flows. VMAC employs LEAN Manufacturing methodology, where parts are only produced when there’s a Kanban signal for it. Kanban can be referred to as a “pull system” as all parts are pulled from the customers’ orders.

Clothes pins on VMAC Kanban bins

Example of the clothes pin system in effect.

This system is used within VMAC’s LEAN Manufacturing operations. VMAC has a few different Kanban methods: Kanban labels are placed on the front of parts bins with information such as the part number, the name of the part, the number of bins of its kind, and the quantity for refilling the bin. Visual signs (Kanban) are used to notify coworkers of empty bins. In some cases, the bin will be turned around so the label is facing the back, or in other cases a red clothes pin will be pinned to the bin. The system provides a consistent method for coworkers to visually identify when parts need to be restocked. An optimized Kanban system streamlines workflow in a sustainable way.

The inspiration for using a Kanban system in manufacturing was born when Toyota engineers noticed that grocery store clerks restocked their shelves based on their store’s inventory, rather than their vendors’ supply. Items were only ordered when their current supply on the shelves was about to sellout, resulting in less waste for the store, and more consistently stocked shelves for their customers.

How Does the Machine Shop Kanban Work at VMAC?

VMAC Kanban parts ready to be delivered to internal customers

Full bins in the machine shop are ready to be picked up or distributed back to Internal Customers.

Stock shortages and empty parts bins at VMAC are constantly monitored, and to prevent shortages that create production bottlenecks there is a Kanban system in place in the machine shop. This system allows for parts to be made on an as-needed basis. Production coworkers, “Internal Customers”, request more parts from the machinists, “Internal Suppliers”, when the inventory is low.

 

Typically, the system will be set up with two bins (or more) per part. At the end of each day, Internal Customers will take their empty bins to the machine shop to have the bins refilled. Bins are clearly labeled and there are designated areas for empty bins to be dropped off. Once refilled to the maximum quantity outlined, the bins are placed in the full bin section for pick-up or distribution.

For this system to work, the time it takes to replenish a batch of parts must be shorter than the time it takes to use all the parts in the second bin, otherwise the second bin will run out of parts before the first bin is refilled, creating a bottleneck in production.

VMAC’s Kanban House Rules

To keep production flowing smoothly, there are guidelines that must be followed. Each part has its own minimum and maximum levels, which are noted on the Kanban labels on the bin. No new parts in the Kanban system are to be produced by the Internal Suppliers without an empty bin being present, and the quantity produced cannot exceed the maximum quantity number on the bin. No partial stock can be withdrawn, only full bins may be returned by Internal Suppliers. If multiple bins of the same part are queued to be refilled, first-in / first-out (FIFO) rules apply.

VMAC Air Innovated banner

Benefits of Kanban at VMAC

The Kanban system plays a vital role in VMAC’s LEAN journey, which seeks to maximize value for customers while minimizing waste.

By using the Kanban system, VMAC can focus on continuous delivery of parts to the production department responsible for building VMAC air compressors and multipower systems. By ensuring parts are available when they are needed, VMAC’s production teams can avoid bottlenecks in the manufacturing process, increasing the teams’ productivity. This translates into improved lead times for those ordering new products, which offers clear value for customers.

Meanwhile, waste from the over-production of parts, defective parts, and waiting is minimized. Producing smaller batches of parts allows for agile iterations in the parts resulting in fewer obsolete parts leftover if a sudden change needs to be made.

Kanban is in effect currently at VMAC, and has been continuously evolving and improving since its implementation years ago. Though this article mainly describes the Kanban system for parts in the machine shop, the next step is to have a Kanban system set up for VMAC’s finished products, such as the diesel, gas, and hydraulic driven air compressors. Once in place, lead times for these compressors will be greatly improved.

Interested in learning more about LEAN Manufacturing at VMAC? Browse our LEAN Blog Series, which includes the 5S program.