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FLEXO Magazine : October 2009
www.flexography.org OCTOBER 2009 FLEXO 7 and its workforce, but he wasn't sure quite where to begin. Testanero knew there were inefficiencies, as well as a need for a more cohesive business plan. Given the new acquisi- tion, it was obvious that management and workforce would both need to be engaged. He needed assistance coming up with both a starting point and some detailed long-term goals. Having been familiar with an east coast MEP and its Lean manufacturing services from a previous position, Testanero contacted the local MEP center, the Corporation for Manufac- turing Excellence (MANEX). To demonstrate the benefits of Lean manufacturing to Cel- lotape, MANEX started the engagement with an interactive Lean simulation involving management and plant supervi- sors. Through this simulation, MANEX was able to dem- onstrate how and why Lean manufacturing works and the benefits it could bring. Impressed by the simulation, Cellotape gave MANEX the go ahead to begin Lean implementation and education throughout the company. MANEX engagement manager, Bill Browne, and his team started with a detailed Value Stream Map on Cellotape's flexographic process line, this was used to both weed out inefficiencies, as well as to demonstrate how value stream mapping could be used to streamline Cellotape's other process lines screen print and digital. While, streamlining plant operations was a start, given its recent acquisition, Cel- lotape needed to give serious thought to where the company was headed to get the whole company working toward the same goals. MANEX sat down with Cellotape management and supervisors to help create and detail a Future State Map. The Future State Map guided Cellotape in identifying what products/processes had high future growth potential, where exactly the company wanted to be in the next five years, and exactly what kind of capacity improvements it would have to make in order to reach its goals. The Lean implementation and planning activities produced significant improvements for Cellotape. The value stream mapping, along with four Kaizan events, resulted in improved machine efficiencies as well as major set-up time reductions. For example, Cellotape operators were spending a large part of their time on gathering materials. The facility was redesigned and existing workers redeployed to create a more efficient system and layout, allowing operator productivity and value-added activities to significantly increase. Perhaps the biggest cost savings for Cellotape was that, as a result of streamlining the business on the whole, it was able to combine their two facilities, creating a more cohesive work environment and saving the company more than $1.2 million. Additional results included: a standardized plant layout; a 34 percent reduction in printing plate production lead times; a 35 percent reduction in energy costs; a 45 percent reduc- tion in label costs / square foot of manufacturing space; and a $26,000 cost savings resulting directly from a 35 percent reduction in set-up time. In the words of Brian Wood, Cellotape's quality compliance manager, "I have noticed an eagerness from employees to help, with an emphasis on fixing the problem. There is an understand- ing that our success is based on not repeating our mistakes." WIKOFF COLOR CORP. & SOUTH CAROLINA MEP Wikoff Color Corp. is a printing ink manufacturer and FTA member that provides inks, varnishes, and coatings to high quality printers worldwide. The company manufactures thousands of individual products and operates under a unique business model in which it has 29 manufacturing facilities in 19 different states and three Canadian provinces, strategically located near major customers allowing it to quickly respond to demand and supply custom-made products on a daily, some- times hourly, basis. Wikoff was founded in 1956 and has grown to include 530 employees, 160 of them located at Wikoff 's main manufacturing plant and headquarters in Fort Mill, SC. Wikoff first became involved with South Carolina MEP (SC- MEP) at a public Lean manufacturing event hosted by SCMEP and Premier Source Lean Manufacturing Group. Wikoff was interested in ways to improve its processes. The company used batch processing, which allowed it to provide rapid and responsive fulfillment to the changing demands of its custom- ers. However, batch processing and constantly changing customer demands also come with some inherent processing inefficiencies, such as higher inventories. Since the company rarely operates with a backlog of orders, Wikoff CEO Phil Lambert stated, "It is harder to eliminate waste with all the peaks and valleys in the course of a normal day." In order to address this problem, company management engaged SC- MEP to perform an on-site operations assessment to identify improvement opportunities. The SCMEP assessment team, led by Manufacturing Specialist Rhonda Huskins, performed the assessment and developed a series of recommendations as part of an overall improvement strategy. The team identified a pressing need for Wikoff to reduce inventories and shorten turnaround time in orders. In an effort to reach these goals the firm imple- mented a Lean manufacturing plan that began with a value stream mapping exercise to identify process wastes and inef- ficiencies and was followed by a comprehensive fundamental training in Lean principles designed to instill Lean methodol- ogy in the day-to-day activities of Wikoff 's staff. After these initial efforts, SCMEP and Premier Source Lean Manufacturing led company management through a review of the company 's 3-5 year plan to ensure all departments and individuals were focused and doing the activities necessary to reach appropriate goals. The process was a true transfer of knowledge initiative, designed to enable Wikoff to strengthen planning at the corporate level and deploy Lean manufactur- ing throughout its facilities, ensuring that all facilities were working toward a common goal. The initial engagement at Wikoff's Fort Mill facility resulted in an inventory reduction of $750,000, or about one-third, and allowed the company to avoid the construction of a facility ad- dition. However, Wikoff went further and used the knowledge gained to develop an in-house team that focused on continu- ous improvements, leading to ongoing increases in efficien- cies and a more cohesive relationship between facilities. In 2003 Wikoff became a founding member of the Lean Alliance in South Carolina, a membership based organization of com- panies, all focused on Lean manufacturing and the sharing of best practices. Since the project, Wikoff has continued to engage SCMEP. In 2007 it brought in SCMEP to help in the reorganization of three of its largest facilities. Throughout these projects, Wikoff has spent nearly $25,000 in workforce investments which has resulted in more than $700,000 in cost savings. For more information on the Manufacturing Extension Partner- ship, or to find the nearest center, please visit www.mep.nist.gov. FTA TODAY
Sustainable Fall 2009