Cesar Porras, President & Jeff Woodard, Chief Financial Officer
The ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have severely impacted every business in some way, shape, or form. The aerospace and defense sector makes no exception. The tumult in the commercial airline industry triggered by the crisis has brought about challenges unprecedented in the industry’s history. The reduced demand for materials and components due to fewer maintenance requirements and mounting financial pressure has caused a ripple effect in the entire supply chain. This predicament has clearly impacted the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers in the industry as they continue to face cashflow shortages, production challenges, and supply chain bottlenecks, both nationally and internationally.
While aircraft manufacturers are baffled by a clouded view of how recovery could play out for the industry, California-based Lamsco West, Inc. is supporting them with effective cash flow management, cost-competitive solutions, and improved productivity through a consolidated supply chain. Trusted by the global aerospace and defense aircraft manufacturers and their major tier-one suppliers, OEMs, and distributors, today, Lamsco is one of the largest single manufacturers of aerospace and defense shims, detailed parts, and laminated shim stock in the world.
Morphing and Adapting to New Market Conditions
“While companies are trapped in a whirlwind of challenges, Lamsco is going strong with the belief that it’s all about adapting to the paradigm shift in the way manufacturers build products in the aerospace and defense sector,” asserts Cesar Porras, President at Lamsco West, Inc. Instead of opting for traditional strategies to conserve cash and accelerate productivity in these turbulent times, Lamsco is combating the ongoing crisis head-on. In order to turn the problem of demand slowdown on its head, the company is pursuing success with the business mantra: “work smarter, not harder.”
“We understand that customers are looking for smaller quantities of products at low prices, and our aim is to improve our processes in order to adapt to the new production rates,” says Porras. To this end, Lamsco leverages a disruptive strategy along with significant investments in automation and lean manufacturing, and a level of specialization, to achieve competitive prices with low-cost sources.
Navigating the Choppy Waters with a Disruptive Strategy
Lamsco has adopted a two-fold disruptive strategy to stay ahead of the competition in the pandemic-afflicted aerospace and defense industry. The first aspect deals with improving customer service in terms of quality, delivery, and lead time. The second aspect is divided into two components: defensive and offensive approach.
We understand that customers are looking for smaller quantities of products at low prices, and our aim is to improve our processes in order to adapt to the new production rates
On the defensive side, considering the current circumstances due to the Boeing 737 MAX conundrum (the passenger airliner was grounded in March 2019 for 20 months following two fatal crashes), Lamsco has shifted its focus on cash conservation and improved supply chain costs to enhance the overall productivity.
The company’s tripartite offensive strategy, on the other hand, revolves around identifying and meeting its customer needs in terms of the statement of work, inventory and safety stock, delivery volumes, and financial requirements. Porras highlights that traditionally, companies need to procure the structural components such as shims and detailed parts from multiple suppliers within the supply chain, depending on their specialty in the specific components. Due to its comprehensive capability to manufacture most of the C-Class parts, Lamsco provides its customers with an opportunity to consolidate their manufacturing supply chain. “Unlike our competitors, we offer a consolidated and one-stop-shop solution for laminated shims, solid shims, polyimide shims, machined parts, sheet-metal details, and assemblies to major OEMs, sub-tiers, and distributors globally,” he says. With its holistic solution, Lamsco helps its customers reduce their overall logistics, supply chain, and inventory costs. Besides, Lamsco has deep expertise in managing complex, high-volume logistics, including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) - controlled min/max systems, Kanban systems, and its highly advanced systems and logistics processes can handle high/low mix to high/low volumes effectively. With its robust Min/Max application, Lamsco ensures 100 percent parts availability for customers and seamlessly secures materials needed to support demand, records all historical transactions, and maintains inventory between the minimum and maximum levels. Additionally, Lamsco delves into adjacent products to offer a broad selection range to its existing as well as new customers range within the C-Class marketplace.
Another critical point that Lamsco addresses in its offensive strategy is identifying the industry’s needs for turning around parts quickly. After investing around $1.5 million, the company has set up a state-of-the-art, fully dedicated Fast Track shop as its value-added service. The fully performing rapid response Fast Track Cell consistently demonstrates impressive performance for low volume parts requiring quick turnarounds. The focus of the cell is 2D and 3D sheet metal and machined parts and assemblies in metallic and non-metallic, including hard metals. The cell is run by an experienced team with fully dedicated equipment, engineering and project management, and estimators focused on the sale. With its Fast Track Cell and dedicated team, Lamsco ensures undivided attention to speed and quality and helps customers with short lead times to sustain uninterrupted operations. Moreover, the company can turn around quotes within 24 to 48 hours and, in certain instances, deliver parts on the same day itself depending on the lead time of the materials, which ranges from 24 hours to around ten weeks.
The third element in Lamsco’s offensive strategy revolves around ease of doing business. Irrespective of their size, companies are constantly battling to strike a balance between possessing vast resources and the ease of doing business. While small mom-and-pop shops often have limitations around capital investment and technical resources, larger corporations are restrained by stringent work policies, high overhead costs, and huge facility maintenance expenses. “We fit in a sweet spot between these two. Whether it’s the ease of doing business of smaller companies with no red tape or the large capital investment, financial stability, and technical capabilities attributed to large corporations, we have the optimal balance of both,” explains Porras.
Embracing a Culture of Excellence and Customer Focus
Lamsco’s market-leading systems are complemented by state-of-the-art factory controls, which leverage electronic visual displays for monitoring performance and efficiency in real-time at each production cell. “We have our proprietary integrated Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that allows to monitor every single corner of a factory in real-time, allowing us to provide accurate information to the customers. From the moment we receive a request for quotation till we ship a part and even post service, we have a system where everything is integrated. This allows us to provide exceptional customer service,” states Jeff Woodard, Chief Financial Officer at Lamsco West, Inc.
Today, the aerospace industry has become a competitive marketplace where the quality of customer service is a clear marker of distinction. Being a customer-focused company, Lamsco aptly capitalizes on this aspect and offers unparalleled customer service with an incredible team at the helm. Lamsco’s talented team comprises industry experts who have years of experience working with major OEMs, such as Boeing and sub-tiers like Triumph, Parker Hannifin, ITT Aerospace Controls, and GKN. “We embrace a culture of mutual care where we take care of our employees so they care about the customers. We have built an environment where we not just hire experienced, talented individuals but also help them become better through our growth training programs,” Woodard notes. Lamsco also empowers its employees through various tuition reimbursement programs. To this end, the company has partnered with local colleges such as College of the Canyons and Glendale Community College to provide constant training to its employees.
Lamsco has bagged several prestigious performance accolades for exemplary quality and delivery ratings and has become a renowned name in the industry known for its value proposition. Lamsco is one of the few suppliers that have received 12 consecutive “Boeing Performance Excellence Award.” Over the years, Lamsco has partnered with various premium distribution companies in the aerospace and defense industry, including Incora, TPS Aviation, Blue Sky Aerospace, and more. With an ethos rooted in delivering on tomorrow’s needs and operationalizing customer success, Lamsco plans to continue growing its relationship with distribution partners to expand its reach and grow further in the aerospace and defense market. “Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in technologies, recruit talent, as well as enhance our capabilities and services for our customers,” concludes Porras.