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Leaning up Featured

10:02am EDT January 30, 2006
Bettcher Amherst wanted to “lean” up, so it implemented a strategic plan to improve efficiency and eliminate costs and wastes. The company implemented a 5-S workplace organization, value stream mapping, SMED and other tools, all of which have contributed to successes in its plants in Brook Park and in Reynosa, Mexico.

At its Reynosa plant, it reduced the set-up time on one press by 75 percent a week, freeing up nearly 500 hours of production capacity a year. The company’s production improvements don’t stop there, though — it also installed a plasma welder, which has increased production from 150 pieces per hour to 800 pieces per hour.

Bettcher Amherst also made several changes that are saving it thousands of dollars a year. The company re-engineered its plant layout to improve the flow of material. In doing so, it also eliminated nonvalue-added handling.

In addition, it rearranged its tool room for easier use. So far, the company has experienced about 90 percent of the $40,000 savings it projected by doing this. It also implemented a new parts washer to the plant layout, which has helped move more product in less time and will save an estimated $80,000 a year.

In another money-saving move, the plant developed a more efficient repeatable leak test equipment procedure. Its customers approved it, and the company implemented it to eliminate a bottleneck test station. It anticipates a savings of $40,000 from this program.

While these changes have all saved money, one of the largest money-savers has come from implementing in process quality packs, or IP Packets. The program started for five customers with 300 parts, and the benefits include reduced scrap and reduced nonconformances and corrective actions. It has also improved on-time delivery and reduced overall quality costs.

To implement this segment, the company evaluated the skill sets of all of its employees who were involved in quality assurance and also provided internal and external training about the effective use of measuring instruments. Between the training and the checks, the company should save about $100,000 a year.

How to reach: Bettcher Amherst, www.bettcherllc.com