How a 100-Year-Old Aerospace and Defense Manufacturer Became an Industry Leader through Digital Transformation

Written By: Mikaela Gluck
October 29, 2020
3 min read

Danko Arlington, a Baltimore-based aerospace and defense manufacturer, has been building parts for rockets, ships, satellites, and weapon systems for a century. Operating in a field where compliance and quality assurance are imperative to business, they differentiate themselves by offering personalized service and custom products.

As a third-generation family-owned business, however, their small team found themselves held back by outdated business technology, struggling to satisfy sales obligations, and in jeopardy of losing business.

Tasked with executing complex products with custom production using paper-based workflows and a DOS-based ERP that relied on off-line inspections, Danko Arlington experienced growing contract delinquencies without any ability for digital mapping for production to catch up. In addition, they relied on manual data analysis that took weeks to process and was highly prone to human errors, resulting in an inability to identify problems digitally and implement data-driven solutions.

Creating a Comprehensive Solution with Quickbase

Finally, in 2017, Michael Santiago, the company’s Sales and IT Executive introduced Danko Arlington’s management to Quickbase, which they built out to replace the legacy ERP system they have been relying on since the 80s.

Quickbase enabled Danko to actively manage and track the complex production schedules that were unique to their business. By adapting their software to fit their specific needs, they were able to use their existing capacity to achieve more as a business and drive real value.

Beyond upgrading their capacity to manage unique processes, Danko Arlington has taken advantage of Quickbase’s cloud-based capabilities to enable increased access to key data. They set up a wireless network that allowed inspectors to use mobile devices to keep an up-to-date record of all production schedules and product quality, which allowed them to pinpoint any bottlenecks in production.

Danko also uses Quickbase to support their quality management systems, using three different applications to track production, training, and documentation. Quickbase is essential to their workflow, with the management team relying on these applications to establish instructions for each contract and then communicate information across teams.

Results that Warrant Industry Recognition

Just three years after implementing Quickbase, Danko Arlington has seen massive success in digitally transforming and modernizing their business. The business has experienced measurable improvements in quality, and they’ve increased production capacity, customer satisfaction, and rate of on-time deliveries.

Among their most notable accomplishments, they achieved AS9100 Aerospace Certification, dropped order release time from 2-3 weeks to just 2-3 days, and now can reliably run real-time inspections and simultaneous documentation process across the 85,000 square foot facility.

“Quickbase has really made a significant impact on how we operate,” says Santiago, “And we are amazed with the outcome.”

These changes haven’t gone unnoticed. Not only have Danko’s clients recognized an improvement in quality and on-time delivery, but so has the industry as a whole. As a result, they were honored with the Metalcaster of the Year award from American Foundry Society for innovation in hiring and technology.

Today, Danko Arlington remains an industry leader in expansion mode, consistently acquiring new sales as a result of their innovation and providing training and employment opportunities in the heart of Baltimore City.

Written By: Mikaela Gluck

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