Above and Beyond: Logistics and the Engineering Project Life Cycle at Ahaus

automated assembly arms

For over half a century, Ahaus has been designing and delivering special machines and fixtures to customers all over the world, from simple, small footprint fixtures to complex, large assemblies. Ahaus engineers have experience addressing any manufacturing challenge, always guided by four Quality Objectives:

• Low warranty cost
• Low rework cost
• Sustainable cost of goods sold
On time delivery

“We see project management as a key ingredient in the secret sauce that allows Ahaus to deliver high-quality and creative solutions in a timely manner,” says Vice President Jeff Sheridan. Project management starts early in the sales process and through runoff, installation, and validation in the field.

Ahaus employee making adjustments to automated assembly.Ahaus’ sales team is made up of engineers: problem solvers, forward-thinkers, and collaborators. When you reach out to Ahaus, the first point of contact is with a sales engineer, someone who already understands manufacturing challenges and typical customer pain points. In other words, they speak your language. After working with you to outline project needs, the sales engineer works with the Ahaus project engineering team to get them up-to-speed and get the job set up in Ahaus’ system. The project engineers then work directly with you to review the project scope, and identify stakeholders, equipment design preferences, runoff requirements, and expectations of production rates on the machine.

“Our sales team is very collaborative with our project engineering group,” continued Price. “It’s beneficial to us when we can get the project engineer introduced to the customer in the sales space as early as possible so we can hit the ground running and there’s already familiarity there, there’s already a relationship that’s been built, so it allows us for a really smooth launch.”

On time delivery is important to our customers, which is why we put so much focus on setting accurate project timeline expectations and then delivering timely solutions that meet or exceed those expectations. In this age of supply chain disruptions and uncertainties, sometimes this means Ahaus engineers going above and beyond to complete a project on time, even if some materials are not available via the typical sources.

“Sometimes we will go to alternate sources to get the components in the time needed to meet the customer’s requirement and the overall timeline or schedule,” said Mark Price, Engineering Manager at Ahaus. “We always try to do everything we can deliver exceptional equipment while meeting customer timelines.”
Throughout the project life cycle, Ahaus updates the customer weekly with an updated timeline called a Progress Report, which features milestones such as engineering updates, manufacturing status, controls completion, assembly, runoff, and shipment.Full view of an Ahaus automated assembly with robotics.

Before shipping, all machines, fixtures, and assemblies go through an extensive runoff – or testing – process on the Ahaus floor; oftentimes the customer is present in order to get a first look and feel of the machine that previously they may have only seen on a computer. This first look is always an exciting time for the customer and for the Ahaus engineers who worked hard to bring the machine or assembly to life.

“Up until that point, they’ve only seen models in the 3D world that we’ve shared through team meetings,” said Eric Partin, Project Engineer. “And of course, they’ve seen photos of the equipment on a weekly basis as part of the weekly Progress Reports, so they can see the equipment progressively building up and sometimes it will even include video. But seeing their reaction when they see it live for the first time – the look on their faces is always a joy. It always appears bigger to them than they’ve expected.”

Once the part or assembly is approved and finalized, it’s ready for shipment. Project engineers submit a shipping request through the Ahaus logistics team, which coordinates the loading, trucking, and unloading, which are handled in-house or through a third-party rigging company, depending on the size of the machine. Ahaus engineers and technicians arrive the day of or the day before the equipment arrives at your facility to help with floor prep and installation support and to ensure a smooth launch of your new assembly.

Branden Mathews, Project Engineer, elaborates: “We get there, we lay out the floor, the trucks show up and then our team will typically work with either a third-party rigging company or their maintenance crew or engineering staff to get the machine actually set in place and installed. Then we do a field validation where we have them run the machine so we can see that it’s working properly.”

After installation, Ahaus engineers and technicians stick around for a while to make sure the machine doesn’t have any issues. “Sometimes it’s a day, sometimes it’s a week,” continued Mathews. “Even after we leave, if our customers have an issue we respond immediately and get our people there to assess the equipment and get it up and running as quickly as possible. We believe this level of responsiveness is very much integral to our long-term success and it remains a strong part of the culture here at a Ahaus.”


Contact a sales engineer today to learn more about how Ahaus can help with your next project.