Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies’ Troy and Milan, Ohio manufacturing facilities have been awarded Gold and Bronze level Supplier Quality Excellence Process (SQEP) certification from Caterpillar Inc.
Caterpillar created the SQEP to recognize those suppliers that demonstrate their commitment to excellence and drive a “zero defects” culture within their organizations. Troy, which received Gold status, and Milan, which received Bronze, are the first Freudenberg-NOK facilities to receive such coveted recognition from Caterpillar.
“Winning Gold and Bronze supplier quality awards from Caterpillar is a major accomplishment, and we’re very happy to receive this recognition,” said Joel Johnson, Global Vice President of Sales, Mobile Machinery, Freudenberg-NOK. “’The Troy and Milan sites are completely dedicated to excellence, which is reflected in these awards. The Manufacturing, Quality, Customer Service, and Supply Chain teams have worked hand in hand with Sales and Caterpillar to make this a culmination of a true team effort. We are a happy bunch as a result of these achievements.”
Troy supplies Caterpillar with polyurethane buffer seals, U-cup seals and wiper seals that are used in its construction and mining equipment. Milan works as a customer service and shipping hub for Caterpillar, matching the company’s fluid power sealing requirements with global Freudenberg and NOK products and then importing and redistributing these products to Caterpillar’s plant locations.
Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.
Caterpillar’s SQEP certification levels include Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, reflected in order of increasing difficulty. Suppliers are certified by meeting or exceeding stringent supplier performance standards, such as product quality and shipping performance, which are measured over the course of a 12-month period.
Over the past three years, both Troy and Milan have focused on strengthening their existing process capabilities, introducing new, leaner processes, improving customer communication and adding new programs and tooling to address Caterpillar’s supply requirements. Troy, for example, performed process qualifications and established process capabilities on every new product and tool that came into the facility.
Troy also conducted dozens of Kaizen workshops to further streamline its operations. Employees carried new ideas forward during these sessions and worked in teams to hammer out the best solutions to challenges. The site has changed how it handles its scrap to increase traceability and reduce waste and reduced its scrap by 44 percent during this time.
“Everyone is pulling in the same direction in Troy, and we couldn’t be more proud of our entire workforce for supporting efforts to improve our performance and customer satisfaction with Caterpillar,” said Gary Clyburn, Site Manager for Troy. “This award affirms the culture change within the plant that has led to this achievement.”
Milan has improved its customer interface with both the Freudenberg and NOK facilities supplying Caterpillar as well as with the company itself. The process improvements have resulted in greater flexibility in meeting Caterpillar’s program requirements and have strengthened global account collaboration.
“Caterpillar is truly a global customer, and we are responding to the company’s needs in a very global fashion,” said Alicia Shupe, Customer Service Representative for Mobile Machinery in Milan. “We’re very excited to receive this award. It took a tremendous amount of hard work, and we are really proud of this accomplishment.”
Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies