Century-Old Aerospace and Defense Manufacturer Danko Arlington Implements Low-Code and Becomes Industry Leader in Innovation
Danko Arlington is an aerospace and defense manufacturer that has been designing and building turnkey solutions for commercial and military applications since 1920. From building parts for rockets, ships, satellites, and weapon systems, Danko operates in a field highly driven by compliance with quality assurance as a top priority. As a third-generation family-owned business, the small team at Danko prides itself on offering personalized service and custom products that use cutting edge technology.
But in 2017, this innovative firm’s operations were not keeping up with its modern technology and Danko found itself in jeopardy of losing business. As the company struggled to satisfy their sales obligations, Sales and IT Executive Michael Santiago introduced management to Quickbase. Amid contract delinquencies and insufficient tracking of production, Danko did away with the legacy ERP system they had been using since the 80s and replaced it with Quickbase.
Just three years after implementing Quickbase, Danko Arlington has fully upgraded their operations. By tapping into the power of data and connectivity, this hundred-year-old company gave its history a new chapter and set themselves up for the future -- improving their on-time deliveries and reinforcing their 2017 Metalcaster of the Year award from American Foundry Society for innovation in hiring and in 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.
- Growing contract delinquencies and no digital mapping for production to catch up
- DOS-based ERP system that relied on off-line inspections
- Complex projects with custom production that required detailed tracking
- Decades old paper-based workflows that burdened the management team
- Manual data analysis that took weeks to process and were prone to human errors
- Inability to pinpoint problems digitally and implement data-driven solutions
- Data-based capacity management and resource planning
- Cloud-based platform combined with wireless network that leveraged mobile devices
- Enhanced tracking capabilities allowed the company to monitor production milestones
- Ability to enroll new contracts into a click-based system that simplified management
- Current data available on the platform’s homepage and reporting capabilities
- Tracking of KPIs to meet company goals
- Increased capacity and customer satisfaction
- Real-time inspections and simultaneous documentation process across the 85,000 sq. ft. facility
- Automation enables greater production with the existing capacity
- Streamlined management workflow
- Data-driven decisions that deliver tangible results
- Measurable improvements in quality and on-time delivery
- Achieved AS9100 Aerospace Certification
- Increased on-time deliveries
- Dropped order release time from a goal of 2-3 weeks to only 2-3 days
Technology to Help Manage Capacity
Before Quickbase, Danko Arlington was relying on a home-grown ERP system developed in the 80’s that couldn’t manage their expanding capacity or keep up with modern quality assurance and compliance standards. With outdated technology holding them back, Danko found themselves late on many orders and challenged by more difficult production schedules.
For Danko Arlington, Quickbase was the ideal software to actively manage and track complex production schedules. By adopting this platform, the company was able to crack the code and achieve more with its existing capacity.
As a cloud-based software, Quickbase enabled Danko to set up a wireless network that made the most of mobile devices. With new access points and tablets, inspectors began to keep an up-to-date system of all production schedules and product quality. This information provided the team with key data that pinpointed bottlenecks in production.
Thanks to this, management doesn’t just run the business but also identifies expansion opportunities. Today, Santiago is proud to point out that Danko “had increasing contract delinquencies when I got here. And, since then, we’ve actually grown our capacity and improved our on-time delivery, simultaneously.”
Automation for Quality Control and Compliance
As part of a highly regulated industry, Danko Arlington also uses Quickbase to support its quality management systems. Daily use of three Quickbase apps are key to track production, training, and documentation.
Using the Quickbase workflow, management establishes work instructions for each contract and communicates production information to the entire team. This simplified things more than Santiago ever imagined. “Prior to us launching Quickbase” he said, “discrete contract details would get lost in translation from administration to production. As a result, our quality score would be reduced, due to clerical errors and minor oversights. Quickbase has given us the ability to disseminate information quickly and accurately to our entire team and improve our overall quality.”
With the data to back up decisions, Quickbase has allowed the team at Danko to see their company differently. According to Santiago, “Quickbase has really made a significant impact on how we operate. And we are amazed with the outcome.”
Recognition from Clients and the Industry
Santiago is not the only one who’s grateful for Danko’s modernized operations. Clients and the industry as a whole have recognized their improved quality and on-time delivery. Along with improved quality scores, customer surveys also show a clear acknowledgement of Danko’s enhanced systems. And the firm was recently honored with an industry award for innovation because of their overall embrace of new technology.
Thanks to Quickbase, the company that pioneered 3-D printing in metalcasting 10 years ago was able to enhance its operations with data-driven management. By implementing this solution, Danko Arlington transformed their management system into a proactive approach that boosted their business and satisfied customers.