PLYMOUTH, Mich.—Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies' facilities in Troy and Milan, Ohio, were awarded Supplier Quality Excellence Process certifications from Caterpillar Inc.
The firm said Caterpillar created SQEP to recognize suppliers that demonstrate commitment to excellent and drive a zero defects culture within their organizations. The Troy facility received gold status while Milan earned bronze. They are the first Freudenberg-NOK facilities to receive Caterpillar's recognition.
“Winning gold and bronze supplier quality awards from Caterpillar is a major accomplishment, and we're very happy to receive this recognition,” Joel Johnson, Freudenberg-NOK's global vice president of sales, mobile machinery, said in a statement. “'The Troy and Milan sites are completely dedicated to excellence, which is reflected in these awards.”
Troy supplies Caterpillar with polyurethane buffer seals, U-cup seals and wiper seals used in its construction and mining equipment. Milan works as a customer service and shipping hub for Caterpillar, matching the company's fluid power sealing requirements with global Freudenberg and NOK products then importing and redistributing these products to Caterpillar's plant locations.
Caterpillar produces construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. The firm's SQEP program includes four levels—bronze, silver, gold and platinum; in order of increasing difficulty. Suppliers are certified by meeting or exceeding stringent supplier performance standards, such as product quality and shipping performance, which are measured during a 12-month period.
Freudenberg-NOK said the Troy and Milan facilities have focused on strengthening their existing process capabilities during the past three years, including leaner processes, improving customer communication and adding new programs and tooling to address Caterpillar's supply requirements.
Troy conducted dozens of Kaizen workshops to streamline its operations, which resulted in reducing its waste and scrap by 44 percent.
“Everyone is pulling in the same direction in Troy, and we couldn't be more proud of our entire work force for supporting efforts to improve our performance and customer satisfaction with Caterpillar,” Troy Site Manager Gary Clyburn said in a statement. “This award affirms the culture change within the plant that has led to this achievement.”
Milan improved its customer interface with both the Freudenberg and NOK facilities supplying Caterpillar and with Caterpillar itself, resulting in greater flexibility in meeting Caterpillar's program requirements.
“Caterpillar is truly a global customer, and we are responding to the company's needs in a very global fashion,” Alicia Shupe, Milan's customer service representative for mobile machinery, said in a statement. “We're very excited to receive this award. It took a tremendous amount of hard work, and we are really proud of this accomplishment.”
Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies is a North American joint venture between Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, a business unit of Freudenberg & Co. K.G. based in Germany, and NOK Corp. of Japan. The firm produces advanced sealing technologies for a variety of markets, including automotive, aerospace, construction, energy and more.