Southern strategy: cut inventory while shortening those lead times.

Position:Machining strategies - Cover story
 
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As a manufacturer, Quincy Compressor Inc. of Bay Minette, AL, has come a long way from its days assisting dairy farmers.

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The origins of Quincy Compressor go back to 1920. George Gille, John Kathe, and George Wall started the Wall Pump and Compressor Co. in Quincy, IL. The company's flagship product line was a series of vacuum pumps designed for milking cows. By 1924 the company changed its name to the Quincy Compressor Co. and expanded its products to meet the growing demand for industrial air compressors. In 1937, the company introduced the Quincy QR-25, a reciprocating air compressor that quickly became an industry standard.

While Quincy Compressor sells a variety of products for the creation and treatment of compressed air, its specialty is manufacturing custom rotary screw and reciprocating air compressors with the industry's most reliable air end. The company manufactures a variety of rotary compressors, ranging from 5 to 500hp. The quiet and reliable compressors are built for 24- hour operation. Quincy manufactures 3- to 30-hp gas or electric reciprocating compressors.

Quincy serves an array of markets with compressed air systems. Reciprocating products are used in general industrial, energy exploration, medical applications and natural gas extraction/transmission and climate control. Rotary screw compressors are used in energy/petroleum, concrete/construction, printing, textiles and agriculture.

As a business operation, Quincy Compressor plays a Southern strategy today. It is headquartered at the company's rotary screw compressor manufacturing, testing, and assembly plant in Bay Minette. Some components are manufactured in the United States and sent to China for assembly and sale in Asia, but all North American sales are manufactured and assembled in the United States.

Seeking flexibility

Quincy experienced substantial growth in the industrial air compressor market over the past several years. Even so, the company knew it had to increase its market share to guarantee future growth. As a result, the company concentrated on increasing its manufacturing efficiency and flexibility to meet the demands of today and tomorrow.

"While contract manufacturing would have eased our capacity constraints, the high costs and risks of having large queues of high-precision components encouraged us to look elsewhere," says David Peed, manufacturing engineer and machining team leader at Quincy. "A more favorable option was to purchase new, more...

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