World-class quality, service and manufacturing techniques are the backbone to the success of Multimedia Games Inc. (MGAM) and the key to providing its customers with a viable video gaming device. “This is a direct result of attention to detail, from the acceptance of an order to robust assembly and the inspection documentation used to manufacture and validate each unit,” maintains Gary S. Kloc, vice president – manufacturing operations.
Following up with the company’s field service team to determine the quality of the product at the time of installation also is necessary. “We’re seeing implementation of key lean manufacturing techniques – such as 6S and progressive flow lines – as enhancing both quality and service levels to our customers,” Kloc says.
MGAM employs a seasoned staff with diverse and in-depth business skills that allows the company to draw upon a variety of experiences to embrace continuous improvement. “Developing and living by a philosophy of measuring critical process steps and establishing a visual factory is critical to the company’s success and growth, enhanced performance and world class execution,” Kloc emphasizes. “We attempt to place a metric on all areas of the business that impact quality or time, and we attempt to tie those metrics together – from receiving through shipping and delivery – so that we get a comprehensive picture of our overall service and quality.”
These in-house manufacturing metrics are supplemented with weekly calls to the company’s field service team to review all installs over the past week for installation quality. “Issues generated from these installations are then reviewed for root causes, which in turn generate process changes within the factory to address those issues,” Kloc says. “Our general philosophy is, ‘What gets measured gets improved.’”
In This Together
One of MGAM’s philosophies is, “We’re all in this together,” Kloc says. “Regardless of your position or rank in the factory, or the component you supply to Multimedia Games, we want everyone engaged in the process of continual improvement.
“Implementing vendor-managed inventory and kanban replenishment processes – in addition to conducting quarterly business reviews with agreed-upon metrics with our Tier 1 suppliers – improves overall communication and leads to brainstorming sessions with cross-functional teams and suppliers which drive down inventory, material costs and lead times, while increasing productivity and improving efficiencies,” he adds.
MGAM partners with suppliers to collaborate with Multimedia Games Engineering to maximize designs for cost efficiencies and improved competitiveness. While the company negotiates for the best cost, it is more than willing to work with vendors on cost, if they are providing exceptional quality and service.
“We do not believe in extracting every penny from a supplier only to discover that the supplier is no longer in business,” Kloc says. “Successful suppliers will lead to the success of Multimedia Games.” The company performs a pre-assessment and an onsite survey for each supplier, which includes quality, business acumen and viability, manufacturing processes and documentation standards. MGAM prefers ISO certification and encourages supplier diversity.
Working with Sales
Currently, all the company’s products are manufactured in Austin, Texas, but as it grows across the country, so does its manufacturing operations.
“We will expand our manufacturing operations as it makes sense to the business, with the most obvious potential of opening a manufacturing center in a location that is closer to Nevada, California or Washington,” Kloc says. “We already ship a significant amount of our product into California and Washington, and the logistics costs for these shipments are a significant expense. In addition, being closer to our West Coast customers will allow us to provide quicker delivery of our products and better service that customer.”
MGAM has defined its customer to be the company’s own internal sales account executives and field service technicians. “Manufacturing’s job is to keep these two areas of the company happy by providing sales with a short manufacturing lead time and field service with outstanding installation quality,” Kloc points out. “If manufacturing is able to successfully provide a short cycle time and the quality of the unit installed is outstanding, it allows sales and field service to spend more of their time servicing the needs of the paying customer. As we see it, if Multimedia Games’ sales or field service is talking to manufacturing about factory issues, they are consuming time they should be spending servicing the needs of our customers.” mt