FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2021
Rochester – The Rubber Group is a customer focused custom injection, transfer, and compression molder of engineered mechanical rubber components like precision seals, vibration isolators, bellows and specialized over-molded components for a wide variety of industries. Last April, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they had workforce losses and a 20% reduction of sales revenue from the Oil, Gas and Aerospace industries who were experiencing product slow-downs from their own clients. Counterintuitively, their medical device sales were also affected as the need for elective surgery equipment became lower priority due to COVID. Like many other manufacturers, The Rubber Group quickly pivoted to make parts for PPE such as seals, valves and diaphragms for ventilators and other medical equipment. Though the work helped and their supply chain stepped up with an extraordinary effort to get the parts they needed, it couldn’t make up for the loss.
In early September, The Rubber Group received CARES Act funding for an NHMEP Value Stream Mapping project. Value Stream Mapping is a Lean implementation event that involves creating a Value Stream Map (VSM) which is a tool that delineates and analyzes the flow of materials and information required to bring a product or service to a customer. Simply put, a VSM provides a way to visually see the entire enterprise in order to quickly identify wastes and performance bottlenecks.
“We realized we had a significant number of duplicate systems – similar tasks being done by different people and functions. The VSM illuminated this issue which we were able to eliminate by consolidating the process into one information management tool,” said Rob Pruyn, President of The Rubber Group. “Instead of maintaining Excel and word docs in multiple places, we utilized our ERP software to develop a form that collects data and puts everything in one place so all departments can access it easily.”
The VSM broadened their scope so they could perceive the entire process from quote to a product ready for production, allowing them to catch any issues up front. NHMEP led the company in developing a continuous improvement plan during the event which produced a process outline. The Rubber Group team’s keen dedication to the outline has helped in improving their overall effectiveness in everyday tasks and reduced the number of man hours for each process.
In addition to improvements in workflow, Mr. Pruyn explained another benefit of the VSM project. “One of the best parts of this experience was bringing in people from all different functions to have them collaborate. We find it fosters innovation along with a sense of who we are and what our mission is. I’m always excited about how the team comes together and how we work to create these really cool improvements.”
Now, with 2020 in rear view, The Rubber Group has been able to hire again and are continuing to see more steady growth and upturn in business.
Learn more and register for the Value Stream Mapping Info Session Webinar on January 20th.
About The Rubber Group – The Rubber Group is a custom molded rubber product manufacturer that uses transfer, compression and injection molding to make components for major markets including industrial, transportation, medical, and consumer products.