A Billings-based business looking to expand globally has turned to a new program at Montana State University’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) to find the best way to get its services and products to customers around the world.
GTUIT, a company that uses a proprietary technology to capture the gases that flare from oil and gas wells and then extracts natural gas liquids from them, recently completed the second in the MMEC’s four-part Supply Chain Optimization program. The program was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP) with input from leading industry experts.
Brian Cebull, president and CEO of GTUIT, called the program an important step in considering the company’s expansion.
“I think we’re doing the right thing by building the foundation for growth, making sure we get these processes and procedures and plans in place before we really take the major steps to grow,” Cebull said. “Our goal is to walk out of here with a plan to really create a robust global supply chain for our company.”
MMEC Senior Business Advisor Alistair Stewart said that competition is no longer between companies; it’s between supply chains.
“When a supply chain is strong and synchronized, it can result in lower costs, improved quality, faster delivery and increased revenue for the business,” he said.
In December, Cebull and other company managers completed the first of the four training sessions, which included a leadership overview, an introduction to risk management and a session on the total cost of ownership, which was led by Stewart.
For the second workshop in February, the GTUIT team focused on the components of their specific supply chain in a two-day session led by experts in supply chain management -- Van Gray, professor of management at Baylor University’s Executive MBA Program, and Chuck Spangler, CEO/President of South Carolina MEP, a sister organization to MMEC. Gray and Spangler were on the NIST/MEP team that developed the program materials.
February’s workshop began with an 18-question survey designed to identify gaps in a company’s supply chain, followed by a strategy development session, and the creation of a plan to foster collaboration among supply chain members.
“We have world-class expertise here, and the people who were brought in to help this training are just phenomenal,” Cebull said. “Having Van Gray, Chuck Spangler and Alistair Stewart be able to give their input on what they see we’re doing, and what we need to be doing – it’s been great.”
Also attending the workshop, which GTUIT opened to other MMEC clients, was a team from Mystery Ranch, a Bozeman company that manufactures packs and load carriage systems for military, hunting, wildland fire and mountaineering customers around the world.
After two days of scrutinizing their supply chain, identifying constraints, strategizing ways to overcome challenges and developing plans for the future, both teams left with a zip drive of all their information and a better understanding of what it will take to create and maintain a supply chain that best works for their company.
Jim Haider, GTUIT’s chief technology officer, said the time spent taking a focused look at their supply chain will have immediate and long-term benefits to the company.
“I found the training to be very valuable and I can already see what the benefits to the company will be,” he said. “It got us to think in a different way. The very specific tasks and the way they took our vision and burned it down to specific functional things we can do made it real and applicable to our business.”
GTUIT Supply Chain Manager Bill Rattell described his takeaway of the training with three words: collaboration, teamwork, focus.
“The supply chain is one of the pillars of the company and this training brought that into focus,” he said. “If it weren’t for MEP or MMEC, this wouldn’t have been a conversation for another two or three years. It’s great to have this training to keep the horse in front of the cart.”
With “so much left to do,” to prepare for GTUIT’s entrance into the global market, Cebull says he is grateful to have a supply chain plan that will help the company meet its goals of being the global industry leader in converting energy waste into useable energy.
“It’s really important to have this robust pillar of a supply chain, and it’s going to be one of the foundational parts of our company,” Cebull said. “Many parts of the world are still energy-starved, but yet they have oil and gas wells that are flaring gas and being wasted. We want to be able to take the energy from where it’s being wasted to where it can be used. We want to be the first company that they think of, a key player in the industry. This training is a great first step, one of the core steps, to meeting that goal.”
MMEC is an outreach program of the College of Engineering at MSU and is affiliated with the National Institute of Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Along with its home office on the MSU campus, the MMEC has field offices in Great Falls, Missoula, Kalispell, Billings and Helena. For more information about the MMEC, go to http://www.mtmanufacturingcenter.com/. For more information about the Supply Chain Optimization program, go to http://www.mepsupplychain.org.
Alistair Stewart, (406) 994-3813 or firstname.lastname@example.org