Axenics has been fortunate to experience continued growth over the last 35 years — 2019 marks that milestone for us. In trying to nail down what keeps our contract manufacturing services strong, all signs point to education. We’ve seen significant long-term value for us and for our customers by cross-training our team members for every job on the floor.
Cross-training our employees has been a huge differentiator for Axenics. It helps us stay ahead of the pack to deliver accelerated results without adding cost to our customers. We have team members that generally spend their time polishing parts, but they can also cut tubes. Some team members primarily weld, but they can also do assembly, perform leak testing and mark the parts.
This practice has aided our lean manufacturing efforts by allowing us to keep a lower headcount, reducing overhead while still maintaining exceptional quality. When team members are out for vacation, for example, another team member picks up the slack. Every department has at least two people working in it, so there’s overlap in addition to the cross-training.
That alone helps us deliver on-time and high-quality components to customers without any hiccups. Going further, though, we know there is value in continual learning for our team, specifically our welders.
Mastering welding means continued learning
Brian Thessen has been part of Axenics for nearly four years, and his mastery of Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding has been a boon for us, especially because — as an instructor — he is passing along this artform to the next generation of welders.
Brian patiently introduces the theories of TIG welding to new welders in a hands-on way, using real-world components that we sell to customers. It’s a long, tedious process since TIG welding is among the most-challenging types of welding.
The time spent is well worth it because, even with a formal education and field experience, there is always something more to learn. TIG welding is one of our specialities, and Brian won’t let our sterling reputation with our customers be tarnished with sub-par work.
The industries we supply, such as components used in life-saving medical equipment, don’t have room for imperfections and they are experiencing constant growth, which requires more-refined and difficult-to-achieve welding.
Everyone has good ideas
Something else that sets us apart is that every idea from every team member is given consideration. Sometimes, the people on the floor have a better vantage point for making suggestions and improvements. We don’t believe in “My way or the highway.” That gives us another real competitive advantage in the industry.
We wouldn’t have survived 35 years without consistently improving our processes and embracing the new discoveries in technology and manufacturing techniques for Tier 1 and Tier 2 OEMs.