Commitment to quality
While 2022 was a record year for the Paul Meijering team, the market in 2023 is also strong. “We don’t aggressively chase customers or projects. If they tell us, “I can get this order cheaper at a colleague”, I tell them good luck, and we’ll see you soon! Our commitment to quality goes far beyond the product certificates; we take care of every link in the supply chain.”
Paul’s focus on quality extends to the processes used to receive, store, trace, package and deliver products to customers. Incoming tubes and fittings are quickly unloaded and then carefully scrutinised. Inspections start with a visual check – is there any evident damage to the packaging or the contents? Have the right number of tubes been delivered in each crate? Does the heat number and grade stamp on each tube tally with the shipping documents? A portable chemical analysis monitor is used to verify that the pipes have the stated composition. The wall thickness is determined using callipers, while an endoscope is available to check the internal cleanliness of small-diameter tubes. Finally, the tubes are weighed; as equally sized tubes have a constant weight, their combined mass is a reliable indicator of the number of tubes being stored or later retrieved. Then they are whisked away on an automatic tube stacker to one of the hundreds of storage locations. The order picking department is a spotlessly clean, spacious area dominated by several huge Hänel Lean-Lifts as well as a Fehr Honeycomb warehousing system, which soars high overhead. When an order is selected at a local computer terminal, one of the Lean-Lifts automatically hums into action. A few seconds later, a large tray with multiple compartments emerges at the perfect working height. An illuminated arrow indicates the specific compartment containing the items that are needed. The operator counts out the exact number and immediately confirms how many remain in stock. With the parts correctly identified and counted, they are carefully boxed and labelled, so the recipient knows exactly what it contains. For larger orders, components are bagged then encased in suitable protective materials such as bubble-wrap plastic or foam to prevent any damage during transit. Individual pipes are laid on a wooden plank to avoid bending before being fully wrapped in plastic.
“We are one of the few suppliers to own a fleet of trucks, and as all of the truck drivers are on our payroll, they know how to treat the product,” explains Paul. “Transport companies don’t have expertise in handling stainless products and do everything with forklifts. In my opinion, forklifts are only good for damaging orders! You need an overhead crane to correctly load stainless steel products.”
Further automation planned
Paul has big future plans, including fully automating ordering and cutting systems to get orders dispatched even faster. “We’re already very advanced with our level of digitalisation, and it’s an area I will continue to invest in. Our laser cutters are a good example; we simply input the drawings, and the system immediately calculates a price for the customer. Embracing technology allows us to provide top-quality products for our customers in a timely and efficient manner. It’s all about keeping our customers happy, no matter where they may be located and how big – or small! – their orders may be,” he concludes with his characteristic smile.