We want to contribute to rebuilding margin rates at our customers by developping cheaper products according to Total Cost Reduction principles.
The most evident part of total cost reduction. Our engineers have to challenge their design paradigms, be creative and pragmatic to reach the cost target. Value analysis is another powerful tool that we use to simplify our product and process definitions and eliminate what is unnecessary for the function or the performance.
This is one of VMI's strengths: one unique person designs product and process at the same time with the continuous support of manufacturing and maintenance teams. The result is cost efficiency: low scrap rate, high efficiency, reduced cycle time, easy tooling maintenance, reduced investment, etc.
It is a cost saving field that we want to extend with our customers. Consider your manufacturing Value Stream Map and check all what is not really LEAN on the component side. Surely there is something that VMI can improve for you, developping a product that is adapted to your needs and constraints.
We will never sacrify quality for an immediate cost benefit. On the contrary, years of field experience are feeding the design expertise of our teams. In case of a new concept, our internal laboratory is available to run quick design check validations. If you have any problematic components why not replacing it with a VMI safe design ?
VMI has inherited a strong expertise from Labinal - Cinch - Molex. We design or re-design products or functions that are totally new to us, including domains outside connectics. There are several reasons why customers are looking to work with us.
Our size is a decisive advantage: the same day we receive a request from a customer we gather people from all areas within the company for a first creative brainstorm. We can immediately engage work on several challenging concepts. Usually in less than a month we can show our first prototypes to the customer.
One of our customers was looking for a solution to get a 20mm wide housing passing through a 15mm wide shaft, while keeping all the electrical related functions unchanged. We've been creative and fast: 9 months later our solution was in serial production.
Only few companies of our size have such a complete coverage of automotive connection area. We are not a plastic injector or a metal stamper making connectors or terminals: we design and manufacture complete connections for automotive.
We have several advanced partnership with some of our customers and our research works are eligible for French Tax Credit (Crédit Impot Recherche).
For advanced research investigations as weel as for concept and product validations we do have all the necessary equipments and technicians to run any electrical connection related dimensional, mechanical, electrical, environmental, durability, etc. We do have also access to several external labs for more specific tests.
There are many plastic injectors or metal stampers on the market but rarely a supplier manages to have both.
This is an advantage that VMI offers which is particularily attractive whenever a product or function includes a plastic and metal assembly or interface.
This combined expertise is highly valuable to our customers in the field of electrical connections that requires to perfectly master many interfaces between terminals and connector cavities, between male and female contacts or housings.
Our experience in mass production of plastic and metal parts is attractive not only for designing electrical connections but also to other industries. We have actually several projects under development, including parts that we develop in cooperation with our sister company Jokon.
Screening a bill of material, we identified a terminal specified for wires from 10mm² up to 20mm² while the application was needing 10mm² only. We did not have a solution on the shelf but we the concept to fit to requirement showing great potential for savings with a part half the size of original.
Our proposal was a 20% shorter length and a thickness reduced from 1.5mm down to 1.0mm. The crimping range has been specifically adapted to 10mm² maximum, contributing to the reduction in size of the part and of the brass strip.
Last but not least, our preliminary concept validation has proven that it was possible to use cheaper CuZn30 in replacement of original CuZn15.
Our crimping and testing laboratory has very much optimized the crimping definition and the transition area for this specific application. The result is a reduction of -40% of the electrical resistance which has been highly appreciated by the fuse box designers where our terminals are mounted.
One of our customers had recurrent internal quality issues with a 2-ways connector without secondary lock. He was actively looking for a solution to get rid of the 100% electrical check he had been forced to implement. But no connector maker really cared about his issue, till he spoke to VMI.
The part being in serial production, we were forced to keep the new product totally compatible.
We have slightly extended the rear of the connector to add a locking flap, with a hinge on the back and a breakable link on the locking side.
The electrical terminal has been also redesigned in order to add a stop for the secondary lock.
VMI has been able to identify the root cause of the quality concern on competitor's part and has developped the appropriate corrective solution.
Extending the connector's length has slightly increased its price but at the same time, VMI has designed cheaper terminals so that the global cost of the connection has remained almost unchanged.
The VMI facility is made of 5 industrial buildings totalizing 13,440m² of production floor surface (145,000 sqft)
We have 3 main production shopfloors: plastic injection with 36 injection presses ranging from 40t up to 150t, metal stamping with 8 presses ranging from 20t up to 60t and the assembly area with a dozen of assembly lines with manual, semi-automatic or full-automatic processes.
Since our creation at the very end of 2009, we already delivered more than half a billion parts to 140 different points all around the world.
This still represents only less than 15% of our installed capacity inherited from the time of Cinch-Labinal-Molex.
Our quality and environmental systems are certified according to ISO standards for design, development and manufacturing of electrical connectors.
In addition we have regular process audits by our customers, including VDA 6.3. We usually exceed 95% compliance.
Our fully automated plastic material distribution system from PIOVAN is a full proof lock that absolutely cancels any risk of injecting a wrong material.
Each step of our processes, from incoming inspection down to delivery, is followed and locked by our bar code radio controlled system linked to our ERP. If anything has gone wrong the system will never print the shipping labels of the work order.
Whenever justified, we implement 100% control on our parts, in particular with cavity pressure control in plastic injection or video camera control in metal stamping or assembly.
When a defect is detected during the process, our machines automatically stop and the issue is brought to a QRQC workgroup. This maintains our internal ppm level low which is one of the best guarantee to deliver no defect to our customers.
We have a strong maintenance team that permanently maintains our production system. Each equipment or tool has its own log book that records each event of its life. The results of this policy: 99% availability for production and only 20% of repair in the maintenance load
To insure top quality we never run production in degraded mode: we repair immediately. With the support of our internal toolshop a broken tool is generally back in production the same day.
Toulouse has one of France's largest airports which means frequent rotations with all major cities in Europe. We easily meet face-to-face with our customers wherever they are and we travel with our most qualified people for the subject. Willing so, we can be the same day or the next at our customer.
No intermediaries with us. You will always speak with someone that commits for its own area of direct responsibility. This is the best guarantee for you that you will get what we promise you.
We believe that if our employees know for whom they are working, their motivation and performance will be higher for the benefit of all. This is why we spend time talking about our customers so that each one inside the company becomes aware of the final destination of the product or service he works on.
To further strengthen this special relation, when a customer visits us, we like to introduce him to all our employees during a traditionnal welcome cofee. Our client is not anymore a brand name only but also a person. This really makes things different.
Our delivery performance target is simple: 100% service rate with a standard lead time of 2 weeks only (+ forecast).
This is our commitment because we strongly believe that serving customers is not just a matter of piece price but also of global quality of service.
Beside quality concerns which response times are led by the 8D process, our managers are very much focused on getting their teams to provide quick answers to any customer requests. Obviously quickness is not rush through and is relative to the complexity of a question. It is more like a rythm that we impose to ourselves in order to be always faster than competition and never be the cause of slow motion at our customers.
We like to play open cards with our customers because we believe that mutual trust and true partnership is the most efficient way to do business.
This attitude applies to any kind of subject among which pricing and costs, risks and issues, etc.
Transparency works both way. It is the condition we put to it.