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.

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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.

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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.

Going Green with VMAC: Lightweight & Fuel Saving Air Compressors

Taking Fleets & Equipment Green in 2017

As states, provinces, and countries continue to press forward with climate change action plans and green initiatives, it’s clear that products and technologies that save fuel and reduce emissions will continue to gain in popularity. A particular focus is on reducing the carbon footprint of commercial vehicles and their equipment.

One example of a state’s policy that has fostered change in local commercial vehicle fleets is California. Within the last year the state has unveiled its climate change mandate. California’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions 40% by 2030, and greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, down from 1990 levels. It’s no coincidence that many California companies are upgrading their fleets to plug-in hybrid electric technology at this time. Organizations that have recently announced fleet upgrades include the City of Long Beach, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric Company, which signed a memorandum of understanding with XL Hybrids, developer of hybrid truck solutions, for up to 110 new vehicles over the next 3 years.

With many changes happening with various federal and state compliance requirements, fleet professionals are turning to industry associations for support in navigating the changing landscape. The Green Truck Association, an affiliate division of the National Truck Equipment Association, is one such organization providing members with resources on technologies that aid in increasing environmental sustainability and operational efficiency. This includes encouraging the use of fuel sources aside from gas and diesel, such as natural gas or electricity, and also choosing lightweight and fuel saving technology.

Fuel Saving & Lightweight Air Compressors

With the demand for green and efficient equipment on the rise, VMAC has developed a line of lightweight and fuel-saving air compressors, including the UNDERHOOD™ 70 – Green Series Air Compressor, as well as the Diesel Driven Air Compressor, and the Multifunction Power System. Each of these air compressors and multifunction power systems is lightweight, reducing gross vehicle weight (GVW) by hundreds of pounds (compared to competing systems). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that for every 100 lbs of weight saved, fuel economy can be improved by up to 2%.

In addition, these mobile air compressors and multifunction power systems are equipped with VMAC’s intelligent digital control system, which reduces idle time of trucks and equipment on the jobsite. These controls automatically shut off your engine when air isn’t being used, and then automatically turn the engine back on when you need to get back to work.

UNDERHOOD™ 70 – Green Series Air Compressors

UNDERHOOD-Air-Compressor-installed-FORD-F450The UNDERHOOD™ 70 – Green Series Air Compressor produces up to 70 CFM at 100% duty cycle. This rotary screw air compressor is installed under the hood of the work truck, and weighs just 150 lbs, saving up to 260 lbs when compared to similar air compressors. Throttle controls will automatically adjust truck engine idle speed just enough to match air demand and reduce fuel consumption. The VMAC Intelligent Digital Controls are easy to use, and will shut the truck on and off with air demand, eliminating emissions when tools are not being used. See details on the UNDERHOOD™ 70 – Green Series Air Compressor.

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Diesel Driven Air Compressors

Diesel-Drive-60CFM Air CompressorThe VMAC Diesel Driven Air Compressor is a 60 CFM, 100% duty cycle rotary screw air compressor. Weighing in at about 450 lbs, this air compressor is about half the weight of competing diesel air compressors. This above deck air compressor also is equipped with a throttle control system that saves on fuel by idling the Kubota diesel engine up and down with air demand. It also turns the engine off when no air is being used, automatically restarting it with air demand. Learn more about VMAC’s Diesel Driven Air Compressors.

Multifunction Power Systems

Multifunction Power System

VMAC Multifunction Power Systems are versatile and customizable, allowing you to only purchase what you need, reducing waste and weight. Powered by a Kubota 4F diesel engine, the 6-In-One Power System features a 45 CFM air compressor, 8 kW generator, 300A welder, 12-48 V battery booster/charger, PTO, and cold climate kit. The 6-In-One Power System can be integrated into a diesel work truck fuel system or skid-mounted for stand-alone applications, allowing you to keep your truck engine turned off during operation. VMAC’s customizable Multifunction allows you to choose your own options and benefit from over 2,000 possible configurations.

VMAC’s Multifunction Power System will reduce truck GVW by up to 400 lbs, compared to other multifunction systems. Truck GVW is reduced even more when the multifunction is compared to the weight of adding a separate welder, generator, air compressor, and hydraulics to a work truck. The VMAC Multifunction Power System’s digital controls idle the engine up and down, and on and off, with air demand. Visit the Multifunction Power Systems page for more info.

Preparing for the Future

Environmental regulations continue to develop and expand making green technology a vital consideration when investing in new vehicles and equipment. By choosing reliable, lightweight and fuel-efficient air compressors and multifunction power systems you’ll be working towards the common goal of reducing your province or state’s carbon footprint and positioning your company to handle environmental regulations, like anti-idling laws. The right equipment will also help you keep money in your pocket by keeping operating costs and downtime low, which in turn boosts your bottom line.

Interested in learning more about green products within the work truck industry? Visit the Green Truck Association’s website. Browse the VMAC Product page to see the full line of air compressors and multifunction power systems.