ENGINEERED TO ACCELERATE YOUR
PROJECT FROM CONCEPT TO COMPLETION
The Swagelok relationship with Green Alternatives Systems started out like most business relationships do: One business had a need. Another business fulfills that need.
When many people think of Swagelok, they think of tube fittings. Rightfully so. We’ve been the industry leader for over 65 years. However, many customers do not realize that Swagelok has the ability to be much more than a transactional resource.
With our fabrication and assembly service, we are afforded the opportunity to:
• Streamline customer processes
• Remove variable labor costs
• Decrease waste and rework
• Become your strategic partner.
We partner with every facet of your business to fully understand your objectives and goals. From the shop floor and production, to procurement and finance, even the corner office- Swagelok will examine your strategies and collaboration with you to work smarter, faster, safer, and more efficiently than ever before.
WHO IS GREEN ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMS?
GAS is the largest Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) and installer for CNG and propane fueled fleet conversion systems in North America. They also have close working relationships with Freightliner. Another valuable relationship is with UPS – where GAS converted more than 600 vehicles in 2015. GAS uses Swagelok products to create fuel lines for these conversions. Essentially, we safely connect the CNG tank to the engine conversion kit.
CASE STUDY: THE STORY BEHIND THE G.A.S. AND SWAGELOK PARTNERSHIP
Today’s business climate is more intense than ever before. Budgets are tight. Markets are saturated. New competition pops up daily. Not to mention the aging workforce and the loss of their tribal knowledge.
To stay a step ahead of the competition, you need experience, expertise, and a partner to elevate your efforts to the next level.
In 2012, Green Alternative Systems was growing rapidly and looking to expand. They contacted Swagelok Indiana | Cincinnati to help them set up an inventory for a new location. Things started out simply enough. A few fittings and a handful of ball valves would get the job done.
As the weeks went on, the G.A.S. and Swagelok partnership evolved. Check valves, tubing, and other components were added into the mix. Hoses were adopted and became part of the project.
In order to make sure G.A.S. had what they needed when they needed it. Swagelok began to manage their supply chain and automated their ordering processes.
The relationship evolved even further when Swagelok introduced Custom Solutions. G.A.S. was spending a tremendous amount of time bending tubing for fuel lines and building defueling boxes for their shuttle buses and trucks. Swagelok offered to run a few tests to see if they could help to enhance their existing operations by pre-bending and assembling the units prior to shipment.
After several prototyping sessions and mock up-fits, Swagelok was able to provide a workable solution that significantly impacted G.A.S. and their production process. By leveraging Swagelok Indiana | Cincinnati’s CNC tube bender, G.A.S. was able to bend their CNG fuel lines in a fraction of the time while adding in a layer of precision repeatability.
Couple this with Swagelok’s certified technicians pre-assembling their defueling boxes and pressure relief devices; G.A.S. was able to trim their process from taking two men 16 hours to upfit a bus with a conversion system, down to four hours (a 75% reduction in production time).
Furthermore, this reduction in production time translated into a $250,000 annual labor savings. This number grows each year as business increases, additional chassis models, and brought on, and large contracts are signed.
Five years later, what started as an emergency call to set up a new location with a handful of fittings, has grown into a thriving OEM partnership and a $2M+ Custom Solutions customer.
WHY G.A.S. ENTRUSTS THEIR BUSINESS TO SWAGELOK
High pressure CNG gas on passenger vehicle translates to quality and safety being extremely important. Their values match the values of Swagelok. One of the differentiators in the CNG market is the level of quality that they provide to their customer. The relationship between GAS and Swagelok helps them to accomplish this.
Safety is of utmost important to GAS. Leaks can endanger the lives of passengers and their reputation in the market. Leveraging the Swagelok name and value proposition strengthens this position.
GAS participates in Buy American initiatives. Partnering with Swagelok helps them to achieve their goals of working with an American based manufacturing company.
Swagelok has become ingrained in the culture and organization of GAS. We are not viewed as a supplier, but a business partner. We assist with purchasing, project planning and management, R&D, sales & marketing, and cost management.
WHAT IS AT STAKE FOR G.A.S. AND THEIR CUSTOMERS?
First and foremost, passenger safety is a high priority for GAS. They realize they are responsible for the individual riding in their vehicles, and they take that very seriously.
There are also business concerns that would come from a product failure. Over pressurization or leakage could lead to a serious explosion. GAS and other CNG suppliers are working to educate the consumer of the benefits of CNG conversions, and negative press from a CNG issue could set back those efforts. A failure and accident could also to to customer or rider injuries resulting in litigation.
HOW HAS CUSTOM SOLUTIONS IMPACTED G.A.S.?
Swagelok components make up almost the entire fuel line system of the CNG conversion. The biggest and most significant role we play for GAS is assistance in production. 85% of the fuel lines and defueling boxes are premade, and simply have to be fitted onto the vehicle. This accomplishes a few things for GAS.
By outsourcing labor with Custom Solution assemblies, GAS has turned a portion of their labor into a variable cost instead of a fixed cost. During times of peak demand, they have significantly reduced the need for overtime or hiring in a flex labor force. In the past when demand was low, they would have to consider layoffs or create special projects for the skilled work force.
Pre-made CS assemblies reduced the installation time on a vehicle from 16 hours to 4 hours. In the first year this translated into a $224,000 labor savings. This value assisted GAS to be competitive in a market with eroding margins, and allowed them to win additional business due to shortened lead times.
CS Assemblies also help standardize their design, and reduce potential costs with field replacement. Prior to Swagelok’s involvement, each tube was customer made, reducing their responsiveness. Now the simply pull from their stock.
These added efficiencies, increased safety, and enhanced supply chain methods have empowered G.A.S. to bid and win many government and corporate contracts.
HELPING GAS TO OVERCOME PRICING CONCERNS
Competitive pricing has been a major focus for GAS in their market over the last couple of years. Often they compete against competitors that use cheaper, inferior products.
GAS and Swagelok have worked together to keep bids competitive. While we have worked to keep pricing of components stable over five years, this alone would not work when facing a government bid.
Streamlined production, discovered process efficiencies, and a significant reduction in labor costs have allowed GAS to continue to provide high value components in their buses at competitive pricing.