Giovanni Cespedes, Owner & President
Just-in-Time (JIT) replenishment has remained an elusive inventory management goal for many manufacturers for good reason. For most manufacturers, inventory management is not a core competency. This is where Falcon Fastening Solutions shines. Founded in 1979 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Falcon is a full-service provider of tailored production component, kitting, and subassembly supply solutions. President and owner of Falcon Fastening Solutions Giovanni Cespedes says, “We’re more than a distributor. We’re a lean, reliable partner.”
Falcon’s mission is to help manufacturers become more profitable and competitive by reducing costs and improving productivity. Falcon achieves that by eliminating supply chain waste in the sourcing, procurement, material handling, and control of low-value production component inventory such as fasteners. Aaron Lyles, Marketing Director at Falcon says, “All of our clients enjoy either a total elimination or a drastic reduction of the management of inventory, the amount of on-hand inventory, lead time, supply-related shutdowns, their total cost of procurement and ultimately, their total cost of ownership.” A Falcon solution might consist of simple component supply, Kanban deployment, in-plant vendor managed consignment inventory (VMCI), or even SmartStock, Falcon’s IoT inventory replenishment solution.
SmartStock is Falcon’s answer to Manufacturing 4.0: real-time supply visibility and rapid replenishment. Yet, Falcon puts process first. “We’re technology evangelists,” says Giovanni, “but our driving obsession is delivering bottom-line results for our manufacturing clients.” Aaron adds, “Above all, we’re practical. Often, technology isn’t the primary problem. Many manufacturers simply struggle with poorly designed or badly managed processes. Good old fashioned properly implemented Kanban remains a dynamic, highly effective method for optimizing replenishment and is often a critical prerequisite for digitizing supply chain operations.”
We’re technology evangelists, but our driving obsession is delivering bottom-line results for our manufacturing clients
Giovanni points to MRP as an example of misapplied technology. “MRP is a powerful technology for resource planning,” says Giovanni, “but it’s the wrong tool for replenishment control.” MRP encourages managers to believe that most overstock and stockout issues are due to poor suppliers or forecasting errors. They overlook the role that poor internal processes play because MRP disguises waste and obscures its root cause.
Falcon’s lean, needs-based approach is what sets it apart from competitors. Falcon’s five-step Lean sales process is designed to understand the unique needs and challenges a manufacturer faces before making them a client. “Our Lean sales process ensures partnership fit and guarantees continual client savings from day one,“ says Aaron.
One Falcon client initially wasted too many resources managing nearly 1,000 item numbers, causing systemic communication failures and cross-functional conflict throughout the company. By understanding the client’s current state, Falcon collaboratively designed and implemented a custom replenishment solution, successfully consolidating 75 vendors.
While most suppliers segregate customer service and procurement, Falcon fully integrates them to better serve its clients. Client Advocates address all inquiries the client may have from sourcing to inventory control. Giovanni credits tenure for his high-caliber team. The average tenure of Falcon’s Client Advocates is 19 years and multiple people exceed 30 years. “Our team has seen it all. That’s really the only reason we’re able to consolidate and personalize our service the way we do,” says Giovanni.
Continuous improvement is a Falcon core value and it shows. Long after Falcon implements a supply solution, a Client Advocate leads a team of Lean Six-Sigma specialists, and inventory technicians to identify opportunities to help clients be leaner and more competitive. Improvement initiatives might involve conducting a value stream analysis, recommending design changes, Kaizen facilitation, fastening training, or developing alternative sourcing strategies. Falcon’s quarterly client performance reviews ensure that Client Advocates stay aware of clients’ strategic goals and challenges in order to help them develop action plans to be more effective, profitable, and competitive.