New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership: NH MEP
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March 1, 2011

For more information please contact:
Zenagui Brahim
Tel: (603) 226-3200

C/A Design Realizes Immediate Benefits of Lean Training Dover Manufacturing Firm Streamlines Processes, Boosts Productivity, and Saves Money with the help of NH MEP

DOVER, NH - C/A Design, Inc. is a fast-growing manufacturing company providing engineering services and components to customers in the aerospace industry. Since its founding in 1993, the Dover company has grown to forty-four employees, and has become a major presence in the New Hampshire manufacturing community.

As competition in the aerospace industry is fierce, C/A Design strives to keep costs down while maintaining a high-quality product. When one of their major customers, BAE Systems, was awarded a supply chain grant to improve the efficiency of their suppliers, C/A Design jumped at the opportunity to take a look at its own processes to find opportunities for savings. C/A Design contacted the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP) to implement Lean Continuous Improvement activities throughout the company.

NH MEP project manager David Hess worked with the company to develop a Lean process throughout the manufacturing operation. Employees were introduced to the “Kaizen” method of training, which stresses continuous improvement of process by maintaining a clean and orderly workplace while also providing opportunity for employee input. By creating an employee Kaizen team, the company was able to immediately organize equipment and staff to rectify long-standing bottlenecks in the manufacturing process that were the source of hundreds of wasted employee hours each year.

One of the major overhauls completed was in the tool room. Through the Kaizen process, the team recognized that the room was poorly equipped for the needs of the employees, causing employees to spend needless time away from their work stations while searching for the parts necessary to set-up their machines. To address this problem, the team developed a plan to reconfigure the tool room, and designated a person to run the tool room in order to free up the production staff. As a result, a chaotic situation that had lingered for many years was streamlined, and bottlenecks in the tool room have virtually been eliminated.

“We have learned a great deal by using the tools that were taught to us by Mr. Hess and NH MEP, and continue to use these tools every day,” said Robert April, Vice President of Operations at C/A Design, “We did our first Kaizen with the help of NH MEP and have since been able to work eleven others on our own.” The result has been staggering. The company estimates that as a result of Lean training, there has been a 95% reduction in set up generated scrap, representing a savings of $38,000 each month. This has allowed C/A Design to add one additional employee, and has also freed up both machine and operator capacity which will allow the company to take on additional work in the future.

“C/A Design’s success in streamlining its operation exemplifies the power of applying Lean techniques to manufacturing operations in New Hampshire,” said Zenagui Brahim, Director of Operations at NH MEP, “The Lean process has not only allowed C/A Design to save considerable money, it has made C/A Design a more competitive company, securing a strong future for its 44 New Hampshire employees.”