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.’”