Nova Analytical Systems is a part of the Tenova Group of Companies. For almost 40 years, we have been designing and manufacturing continuous and portable gas analyzers with integrated sample conditioning equipment for industrial applications.
In the past 10 years, Nova has transformed from a small job shop producing custom gas analysis equipment to a capable and flexible manufacturer providing robust gas analyzer solutions worldwide.
Our first step was to sharpen our focus on out-of-the-box quality and long-term reliability. To do so, we undertook a comprehensive review of the wetted parts and electronics that were being used. Almost 40% of the parts were changed, in favor of more durable and rugged substitutes.
We also overhauled our quality control process introducing inbuilt checks and balances, enhanced testing methodologies and tripling the number of function checks at quality control (QC). The additional checks and testing greatly improved out-of-the-box quality, but lead times were still too long and erratic for some of our customers.
After many years of refining the QC process, the focus shifted to “Delivering Quality products On-Time, everytime” The traditional manufacturing methodology of one unit for one technician was challenged and ultimately changed leading to a new philosophy of Modular Design / Build. This new philosophy would allow Nova to continue to offer most equipment, now organized under 7 different platforms including the most popular options, thereby continuing to allow Nova to retain its hallmark flexibility with customer.
The layout and configuration of most of our equipment was revised to allow for repeatable, modular sub-assemblies and standard options. The Modules team was created, who quickly became specialists at producing make to order sample conditioning, sensor and electronics modules. The final assembly team focussed on final integration, build consistency and enhanced testing. The modular design / build concept naturally created products that are ‘open concept’, which are easier to understand, troubleshoot and maintain. We are strong believers that our equipment should not be a black box. In the past 3 years, we have reduced lead times while continuing to improve quality and add new customers.
Our next step is perhaps the most exciting. We have been working closely with our long-time partner at ThomasNet to overhaul our website and to enhance our presence online through a new digital marketing initiative called RPM. As part of the overhaul, Nova will be introducing the NovaNow marketplace. The first release will finally enable Nova to sell spare parts online, streamlining this process for all customers.
As the NovaNow marketplace grows we will start offering application specific gas analyzers for sale online. We recognize that the online buying process may create different expectations and new pitfalls for new and existing customers, so our sales team will still stay very closely involved. However, we know that the delivery of equipment bought online will be measured in days and not weeks. So our operations team has decided to again redefine itself.
In the past 6 months, an integrated product team (IPT) including engineering, operations and sales has worked closely to identify a substantial number of products that would be good candidates to also be offered through the NovaNow marketplace. Designs of candidate products have been changed to allow a substantial amount of the content to be made to stock. Moreover, operating software has been altered to allow Module team technicians to configure the equipment without having to involve software engineering. Early results with our 380K Generator Purity and Purge analyzer have exceeded expectations.
Through this effort, the IPT has also identified the opportunity to substantially reduce the lead-time of our heavy-duty 800 / 900 platform, which has been recently renamed as the DuraNova platform of products. The team has set an aggressive goal to sustain better than 4 week delivery on all standard configurations of the DuraNova products.
“It is interesting to note that the make-to-stock and 4-week DuraNova projects emerged naturally in response to new customer sales and communication channels that are anticipated from the introduction of NovaNow marketplace and RPM” says Grant Freeman, General Manager of Nova Analytical Systems. “Our IPT has been driving change proactively so that we continue to meet our commitments and strengthen the long-term relationships that are life blood of our industry”.