David Slays Goliath: How Crosslink International Leverages 100% Document Control to Take Down the GiantsCase Study
Crosslink International Inc. (www.c-i-inc.com) is a World Class Elastomers Company dedicated to serving the Automotive, Industrial and Specialty OEM markets.
The Problem: How to compete with billion dollar competitors, satisfy ultra-demanding customers, and pass challenging certifications with a “skeleton crew”.
Staying small can be a huge competitive advantage. Crosslink International knew from the very beginning, that, if they were going to compete with their multi-billion dollar competitors, they needed 100% control of their processes to stay agile, lean and ultra-efficient.
Meanwhile, because they manufacture safety items, 100% document control is not merely an option…it’s a life-and-death necessity. That’s why they invested in Adept engineering document management.
Guarding the Gate…without Dedicating Expensive Resources…
“No document comes into the Crosslink plant, or is generated in house, without Adept tracking it every step of the way.
Steve Pollazzi, one of Crosslink’s principals explains…
“Adept is our gate keeper for anything important at Crosslink. Nothing comes through here that isn’t maintained by our Adept system. If something is brought in and received, we have a receiving inspection document. If it comes out of Adept from an ISO template or a work instruction or a template or something of the sort…on that template there would be a part number, receiving information. It captures all of the data.”
And Adept tracks everything at Crosslink. Versions, revisions, xreferences, all documents and their parent/child relationships are all strictly controlled and managed through Adept’s integration with SOLIDWORKS…
“When an engineer makes the changes on those SOLIDWORKS files, they’re automatic,” states Pollazzi. “When you sign them in, you don’t have to verify that there isn’t any glitch or any issues with the way the part was signed in…you know everything is copacetic.”
It sounds like a big job but Pollazzi explains that Adept allows Crosslink to accomplish all this control without hiring a single extra employee…
“The document control, including revision control, prints, and engineering changes is a job in itself. And it’s done by the document controller who is very intimate with Adept.”
This 100% control allows Crosslink to:
- Satisfy demanding customers
- Out-compete “Goliath”
- Pass certifications with ease
- Have confidence in the scalability of their processes
Staying Lean to Satisfy Demanding Customers
“Customers want us to use our time to come up with new, innovative ideas,” remarks Pollazzi. “They want us to develop things quicker and faster… people are shortening lead times and they’re saying you’ve got to do this faster. You’ve got to reduce your costs in five years and so forth. Adept supports tackling those challenges on limited workgroups or limited workforce.”
Crosslink intends to stay lean and mean through 100% document control. Only in this way will they be able to focus on the things that really matter to their customers. Innovation. Fast turnaround. Lower costs.
Competing with Goliath
As costs rise, Adept allows Crosslink to use their small size and agility to their advantage and take down Goliath.
“Things that keep us up at night are rising costs,” adds Pollazzi. “All our costs are going up—insurance and raw materials….but Adept is something that has really allowed us to be more efficient…So, all these rising costs are also the things that differentiate us from other people. Adept has allowed us to keep a lean group.”
And this keeps their overhead way down and enables them to compete with…and bring down…the giants…
“We compete with multi-billion dollar companies,” states Pollazzi. “When we go up against them we are typically successful because we don’t carry all the overhead and we can really maintain our systems and turn quotes around faster. We’re very selective with what we take on. I think that’s been a successful methodology for us …we’re not varying too far. I know that we could probably grow faster by doing things a little different. But, we’re not looking for fast growth. We’re just looking for steady growth.”
Passing Certifications in a Snap
Crosslink prides themselves on their ability to not only pass certification like ISO and NAFTA, but to pass them with ease. And the 100% document control they get through Adept enables them to do just that.
If NAFTA needs documentation, Adept allows Crosslink to pull up every possible document needed…
“For example, a part number—800276, that’s a part number that use for one of our customers. There’s probably 25-50 of these things on every engine on average. When you search for that part number, there may be a related visual inspection form called ‘RI, an 800276_VI’. . .and there’s about ten different methods for searching that we can do. And then of course our SOLIDWORKS file names for that customer also begin with 800276. So, when you do a search you get a full scope of the project. When you type in NAFTA you get everything related to NAFTA, so you can really control multiple documents and categories, libraries, and ultimately vaults.”
And the same simplicity helps Crosslink breeze through ISO audits as well. And ISO audits are not exactly known for their easiness! It’s a lengthy process even for a small company like Crosslink. The auditors are very evidence oriented. They go directly to employees and ask “What are you doing now?” They dive deep into your processes looking for variations, differences between what one employee says and what another tells them. And they do this for every important process. Every important document.
But Adept gives Crosslink 100% control of the document processes…and allows them to minimize the number of quality control documents they require.
“We’ve got a really tight, really strong document control system set up,” reaffirms Pollazzi. “Bottom line is that Adept is our master document. So, everything that’s in Adept is considered a master. If it’s printed, it’s referenced where it can be found so it will be in our Adept system. So, Adept has been key with us with our success of document control … our quality management requirements are not huge. It makes our life really, really easy…I think our size has been pretty key for us to really keep our arms completely around everything.”
The Control and Scalability Needed for Steady Expansion
Because of the almost franchise-like predictability and scalability Adept brings to Crosslink’s processes, Pollazzi can confidently take steps in the direction of expansion.
“I’m in the process of taking a look in the Midwest to get another facility going,” states Pollazzi. “We’re going to be doing some multi-facility things. And, I think convenience of Adept is really going to be key. We’re not a franchise, but it’s like that. We’ll be able to literally take our current systems – including Adept — and scale them as we need.”