June 15, 2012
The 113-employee Manchester, Ga., facility of Albany, N.Y.-based AngioDynamics produces three types of medical devices: infusion devices used to inject medicine into blood vessels; vascular ports that are placed below a patient’s skin to distribute drugs, such as the chemicals used in chemotherapy, throughout the body; and radio frequency ablation devices that treat tumors by subjecting them to high heat.
According to Bruce Maloy, director of operations at the plant, the Manchester facility is on “a quest for continuous improvement.” By early 2009 the company was looking for new ideas and turned to the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech to learn how to make their plant more efficient through lean methods.
In early 2009, Derek Woodham, manager of GaMEP’s West Region, conducted a daylong overview of lean techniques for the Manchester leadership team. Later that year, he began working with the facility’s infusion segment. Using the training it received from Woodham and GaMEP, the company later implemented lean methods into its vascular port division. Based on the success of the first two segments, AngioDynamics plans to implement similar changes in the plant’s third division, which produces radio frequency ablation devices that treat tumors by subjecting them to high heat.
- In the case of each separate infusion and port product, the plant can assemble at least 30 percent more units per hour than it could before using lean methods.
- The amount of scrap produced by the infusion and port departments has decreased by 33 percent and 52 percent, respectively.
- The plant has experienced significant cost savings, stemming in part from reduced material expenses.
“We’ve made marked improvements,” said Bruce Maloy, director of operations at AngioDynamics’ Manchester, Ga., plant. “You can’t argue with the results.”