Changing times Featured

9:47am EDT January 24, 2005
This year's eVolution of Manufacturing award winners realize the face of manufacturing is changing and evolving, and that they must do the same to survive. These companies have moved from a reactive to a proactive stance, putting innovation at the forefront of their thinking and constantly looking for new ways to grow and improve their operations.

As Jeff Korach, president of Tremco Group, put it, "Just because your grandfather did it one way doesn't mean that's the way to do it."

Tremco's approach was to push the envelope and examine existing processes to improve and build upon them. The result was its Business Process Excellence strategy. With its implementation came savings of costs, material and time.

Great Lakes Integrated adopted a similar philosophy by evolving and creating enhanced services for its clients. Through an Internet-based system, GLI clients can create and manage marketing and brand-building resources at the click of a mouse. This proactive stance has distanced GLI from the competition.

Being proactive, though, does not just mean innovating new products or growing business; sometimes, it can mean taking care of your people. For JACO Manufacturing, an employee Rewards Based Incentive Program helped to encourage workers and resulted in significant drops in absenteeism and dramatic increases in workplace safety.

Other winners, such as Ranpak Corp., have continued to build on their innovations. Recently, Ranpak's core product, the PadPak, was joined by another biodegradable, renewable and recyclable void-fill product, The FillPak converter. With FillPak, several 100-cubic-foot boxes of Ranpak fanfold paper can be queued at once, allowing a packer to focus on filling boxes and not on changeover time, resulting in significant cost and time savings for the company.

For one eVolution award winner, innovation was truly an evolutionary process. For Garland Industries, a new, state-of-the art production line meant significant investments, including in a new facility to house the production line. But the results have been worth it; by 2007, Garland expects to increase production by more than 150 percent.

As the nominees and honorees for this year's eVolution award have clearly demonstrated, manufacturing today means anticipating the future, then evolving and innovating to meet it, not just being satisfied with today's results.

CAMP Inc. supports these innovative approaches to creating economically viable solutions in the global economy. I applaud the nominees' efforts and believe these companies are leading the way for the needed revitalization in the region.

Congratulations to all of this year's honorees.

Stephen Gage is president of CAMP Inc., title sponsor of the eVolution of Manufacturing awards.