New Hampshire MEP | Lean Manufacturing

New Hampshire MEP Success Stories Archive

Scott Electronics, a family-run and certified woman-owned small business, has been a local leader in Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS).

Recognizing the need to stay ahead of the curve in terms of best practices and procedures, specifically when considering current and potential customers in the ever-expanding medical market, decision makers at Scott Electronics decided to seek ISO 13485:2008 certification, which reflects current FDA medical standards.

“In this instance, where we’re talking about the ISO 13485, related to the medical standard, we saw there was a need for it. Not that there was a demand for it by a customer, but there was that need for it to give you that opportunity in the market to tap into new customers,” said Scott Metzemaekers, Senior Corporate Officer and Director of Quality Assurance at Scott Electronics. “A lot of them will require that you have this standard to be able to do business with them.”

Having worked with New Hampshire MEP on employing lean efficiencies in the mid- to late-90s, and having doubled its employee base in the time since, Scott Electronics reached out to NH MEP for additional assistance. Click here to read more.

Agility Manufacturing in Dover, NH has specialized in the assembly of printed circuit boards and the manufacturing of electro-mechanical assemblies for electronic design facilities, engineering firms and OEM’s.

Though Agility has long been a respected and successful Seacoast electronics manufacturer, McGreevy admitted that retaining current clients and recruiting new ones, especially in the ever-expanding medical field, was becoming increasingly difficult without ISO 9001:2008 Certification.

“We were missing out on work, we couldn’t bid on work, we had customers that we had that were pressuring us to become ISO certified, so … it became apparent we needed to become ISO certified and we needed to become trained before we could become ISO certified, and we knew NH MEP had a great program for that and we decided to take advantage of it.”

McGreevy reached out to NH MEP President Zenagui Brahim, who he had met at various New Hampshire manufacturing functions, and subsequently enrolled in NH MEP’s unique ISO Collaborative program, which joins several companies together for a cost-effective approach to becoming certified. Click here to read more.

Bensonwood Homes is a national leader in residential and commercial timberframe buildings.

Despite the success of Bensonwood and the accolades its founder and the “Beam Team” have received throughout the country, their collaborative approach to building homes and building on their skills leads them to seek continued improvement.

“We are constantly striving to be better at what we do and everyone involved must be a part of the process of continuous improvement,” said Benson. “We wanted to bring more lean ideas into our company, so we called the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP).”

NH MEP was invited to Bensonwood to tour the shops at their locations and meet the Beam Team. Later, they came back with a comprehensive report identifying areas where there was opportunity for improvement and made suggestions for Lean Manufacturing implementation strategies. The Lean Manufacturing technique uses simple, yet systematic approaches to eliminate waste and reduce manufacturing costs, while increasing productivity. Click here to read more.

New Hampshire Industries (NHI) is a leading supplier of pulleys, spindles, and other pulley-like products, and is committed to product innovation and customer satisfaction. When NHI formed more than 45 years ago, the company primarily made idler pulleys. Since then, the manufacturer has expanded its production business to drive pulleys, cast pulleys and sheaves to better serve their clients’ needs. With an expanded production line, NHI keeps very busy, with winter and spring the most active time.

"We definitely had a production peak in the winter and spring, but were looking to keep a steady, more efficient pace year-round. We had done some training on basic lean principles on our own, but we knew we could use some additional training and guidance from someone outside our company," said J. Todd Miller, Company President and CEO of NHI. "John Simpson of the New Hampshire Department of Resource and Economic Development introduced us to Jane T. Ely, project manager at the NH Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP). Jane rolled up her sleeves and got right to work with us, and also assisted us in obtaining a Workforce Training Grant to defray training costs."

Tom Green, Operations Manager and his team of 10 other employees received the majority of the training. The first training this group received was the basic lean manufacturer training, Le101. At an off-site location, the participants combined classroom work with hands-on simulation and learned how they could apply these concepts to their work environment. Jane also showed the group the importance of Time Wise® Value Stream Management System (TWVSMS) on their heavy duty idler manufacturing process. TWVSMS maps out the existing factory’s product and process flow and helps a company determine a more efficient layout. From the TWVSMS in this area, the NHI team came up with 13 different projects that needed to be addressed in order for them to reach their future state. Click here to read more.

Reliable Technologies in Manchester is always looking to make some cost-reducing changes at its company. Manufacturer of printer cartridges and fax machines, Wayne Justason, vice president of manufacturing, recognized an opportunity to incorporate positive modifications to keep up with their production demands.

Familiar with Time Wise Principles of Lean, Justason knew the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP) was an expert in implementing Lean.

In implementing a Time Wise Value Stream Management System session, the workflow was streamlined, and three work areas were combined into one work cell, reducing the time and distance of the production process. "As a result, we have been able to manufacture about 120 cartridges in 6 hours as opposed to the 80 we were making before. That’s a 50 percent productivity increase," said Justason.

"We are currently 50 percent of the way to completing our transformation to Lean, and we have experienced a 50 percent improvement in our daily production output with the same staff as we had before," said Justason. "The outcome we have experienced from the work we have done with the NH MEP has exceeded my expectations." Click here to read more.

Page Belting, a Concord, NH, company manufacturing leather belting for industrial machine experienced such growth that its product line has significantly expanded.

"I compare it to going from being a great gourmet restaurant serving a limited menu and a dozen customers per night to serving a full menu to hundreds of people a night," said Mark Coen, President and CEO of Page Belting.

Realizing the rapid expansion of his company’s product line necessitated a change in the way client orders were placed, processed and sent on their way, Coen enlisted the aid of the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP) to implement Time Wise Principles of Lean Manufacturing.

The results have exceeded expectations," added Coen. "The NH MEP team has made an immediate impact that has made a believer out of me. For example, we identified one job that took 536 steps to complete and using Lean Manufacturing we have redesigned the process and reduced it to just 45 steps." Click here to read more.

Graphicast in Jaffrey is the preeminent company in the field of developing and using graphite mold casting technology to produce precision metal parts for use in products like computers, video imaging equipment and speaker components.

The company prides itself on rapid turnaround of quality products, but recognized there is always room for improvement.

"They [NH MEP] was brought in to work with our management and our employees to implement Time Wise Principles of Lean Manufacturing, drastically increasing our run-time and our capacity to machine more product, and decreasing overtime expenses," said Val Zanchuk, Graphicast’s president.

Since the project began, Graphicast has increased run time by almost 500 hours over past practices, creating the capacity to machine over $50,000 of product. Click here to read more.

Markem, the world leader in product coding solutions, has been working with NH MEP for the past three years on a Time Wise Principles of Lean Manufacturing project, training all of its employees.

"As a result of Lean implementation, our production and administration areas, development and operations are a lot cleaner and more organized now," said Dan Belluscio, Markem manager of continuous improvement. "Early on in the project we used Lean techniques to clear nearly 20,000 square feet of the space on our assembly floor by moving to one piece flow and eliminating inventory. Changes like that help improve productivity and quality." Click here to read more.
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