Jonal Laboratories

E2 MFG Helps Organize, Automate, and Grow

Jonal Laboratories was started in 1965 by Jon Nemeth. Nemeth was a chemist and that expertise carries on today as Jonal Laboratories creates compounds and turns those into seals for the aerospace industry. They make their own rubber for seals that are sometimes fabric-reinforced, so they can make them whatever shape or size is needed. They can create seals up to 13 feet by 2 feet or O rings up to 6 feet in diameter. One of their parts is even used in spacesuits. To make parts for these industries, Jonal Laboratories needs to produce exactly the right part on time and with high-level quality. Over the years, they’ve used a few different systems to make that happen.

Like any job shop that’s been around for a while, Jonal Laboratories has some things that they’ve always done a particular way. The habits that have grown in their shop made sense based on the past, but it was an intricate system to explain to anyone else. It was hard for everyone to see the need for change until they hired a lot of new employees. Suddenly, folks who knew where everything was realized that their systems didn’t make sense to outsiders. The old systems were making it much harder to train new people and keep jobs moving in the shop. As Jordan Keegan, Operations Support Supervisor, put it, “You start to realize real quick why a system and communication and clarity is important.” Fortunately, they were just starting to implement E2 MFG at that time, which made their specialized knowledge easy to find.

Before they started using E2 MFG, Jonal Laboratories used a few different systems. They had an AS400 system from the late ‘80s for most of the manufacturing side, Excel for quality, and QuickBooks and Excel for their accounting system. It was difficult to find information, and even when you did, you couldn’t be sure it was accurate and up to date. One of the biggest benefits of E2 MFG is that now everything is tied together. They know that they’re looking at current information and that they can input data once and it immediately updates throughout the system. As Keegan said, “Now, the head of chemistry doesn’t have to send somebody down to me to ask what the last price for 90 pounds of carbon black was. They can pull it right up in the system and see the whole history and see ‘Oh wow! Lead time spiked the last two weeks. We might need to look into this.’”

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The operators can just walk up, scan their job, scan the materials for the batch number and the material name, go to the job, and scan a barcode next to the quantity. That’s a big step forward for us.

- Jordan Keegan - Operations Support Supervisor, Jonal Laboratories

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Jonal Laboratories has been growing, so they’ve also been looking into which parts of their shop they can automate. E2 MFG has been a great help with this. So many of Jonal Laboratories’ systems were manual before, but now, as Keegan put it, “The operators can just walk up, scan their job, scan the materials for the batch number and the material name, go to the job, and scan a barcode next to the quantity. That’s a big step forward for us.” Keegan is trying to get Jonal Laboratories to work smarter, not harder, and an automated system is a big help. Without E2 MFG, “I know we would just be running around with clipboards and spreadsheets if we weren’t in this. That’s what would be keeping this together. That and constant stand up meetings of what is going on and where is everything.” Eliminating the need to look on the shop floor to get answers and have frequent meetings has saved Jonal Laboratories so much time.

It’s hard to quantify exactly how much E2 MFG has helped Jonal Laboratories improve because they couldn’t gather enough accurate data to make a baseline before, but they know they’ve gotten more efficient. As, Keegan said, “I can say it’s better. I can say it’s more organized.” Although he can’t put numbers behind how much E2 MFG has helped the shop, Keegan shared that the impact has been widespread. “Having information at your fingertips is really key. And it makes everybody speak the same language. That’s really a big thing for me. I’m hard-pressed to believe that anyone wants to come into work and do a bad job, but if they don’t understand that they’re doing the wrong thing or that the thing they’re doing is a detractor for their downstream or upstream internal customer it’s not gonna work.”

E2 MFG has already helped their shop, but Keegan is also looking to the future. Within the next year, Jonal Laboratories will grow from two buildings to three, and he knows that having accurate, up-to-date inventory is going to be crucial to keeping everything flowing smoothly. They’re working on getting their inventory fully input and maintained in E2 MFG. As Keegan said, “It will be a lifesaver.” E2 MFG has helped Jonal Laboratories train new people, reduce time spent searching for things, automate parts of their processes, and generally improve their shop. Keegan will take what they already have and build on it to make their shop even more efficient and enhance processes wherever he can. E2 MFG isn’t just a system in their shop; it’s a structure for improvement and a way to help Jonal Laboratories make a brighter future for their shop.

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