Aerospace Metal Finishing Company Utilizes Lean Practices to Create Growth Opportunities

DYNAMIC PAINT SOLUTIONS | Value Stream Mapping

January 2013

Customer Profile

In 2005, Robert Pruitt and his parents founded Dynamic Paint Solutions (DPS), a full service metal finishing company. The family-owned firm, located in Eastman, Ga., exclusively serves the aerospace industry, and has grown to 70 employees in the eight years since its inception.

DPS plays a key role for the aerospace industry. The company receives aerospace (primarily metal) parts from machine shops that produce them, inspects the parts for cracks that may have occurred during manufacturing or shipping, then treats and paints the parts. The painted parts are returned to the machine shops that produced them, before being sent on to the final customer for assembly.

Situation

Dynamic Paint Solutions not only has to meet stringent quality standards, but must also accommodate production demands that vary considerably over time. Quality standards that must be met include NADCAP and AS 9003 – an inspection and test quality system for use by small build/machine to print organizations. DPS must be able to adjust to meet the individual needs of its customers, who routinely visit and audit the company to ensure compliance.

Customers had expected that it would take no more than five days to process each order, but handling 50,000-70,000 parts of various sizes and configurations per month without being able to project demand was creating issues for production scheduling, shift volume and lead times. DPS management knew it had to smooth out the process to continue meeting customer needs.

Pruitt, CEO of DPS, already had a relationship with the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech, and had used the organization for onsite courses and project work. For help in addressing these production issues, Pruitt reached out to Alan Barfoot, GaMEP’s Central Region Manager, and Danny Duggar, a GaMEP project manager.

Solution

A value stream mapping exercise of the entire handling process was conducted and upon analyzing the results, Duggar recommended separating the incoming parts into two categories: existing parts versus new parts. He also recommended combining the physical space of two departments to increase communication. By incorporating these changes, DPS was able to decrease takt time, or cycle time, from an average of 8-10 hours per cycle to an average of 30 minutes per cycle.

These same exercises uncovered an opportunity to improve DPS’s paint department. DPS was operating two shifts, using three paint booths that fed into just one curing oven. After discovering that the curing oven was the choke point in the process, DPS added four more curing ovens and two paint booths, creating a one-to-one ratio. Another challenge discovered was contamination in the paint, and to improve the quality, DPS changed the flow of their process by introducing a team approach to each booth/oven operation and decreased the number of shifts from two to one.

The team consists of a painter, a helper, and a quality inspector, who provides constant feedback to the painter so the team can spot and correct issues faster. By making a capital investment and overhauling this department, DPS was able to increase its first-time-quality (FTQ), the percentage of parts manufactured correctly the first time, by 8%, boosting the overall FTQ to a 96% rating.

As a result of these improved processes, along with involvement and support from the CEO, DPS was also able to free up space and resources, creating the capability to expand its business. As a next step, the GaMEP is working with DPS to look at the company’s marketing initiatives to create future business growth opportunities.

Results

  • By combining departments and making their processes more efficient, DPS decreased takt time from an average of 8-10 hours per cycle to an average of 30 minutes per cycle.
  • DPS streamlined efforts and was able to consolidate its paint operations into one shift.
  • By creating teams around each paint booth and having a quality inspector position for each area, DPS increased its FTQ by 8%, bringing the overall rating to 96%.
  • By implementing lean practices and freeing up resources, DPS is now able to actively seek additional business opportunities.

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Headed in the Right Direction: Value-stream mapping helps gas-regulator manufacturer improve production flow

HARRIS PRODUCTS GROUP | Value Stream Mapping

December 2012

Customer Profile

Harris Products Group, a subsidiary of publicly traded Lincoln Electric Co., produces a variety of products used in the metal brazing, cutting and welding industries, as well as an array of gas-control equipment used in industrial, medical and laboratory applications.

The company’s 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Gainesville, Ga., is home to 125 employees and is one of five such plants the company has around the globe. The Gainesville facility produces oxy-fuel cutting and welding equipment as well as compressed-gas pressure regulators.

Situation

As part of its continuous drive for improvement, Harris wanted to see if it could improve its process for readying chrome-plated components for assembly into its gas-pressure regulators.

Solution

To fine-tune this portion of its component-production process, Harris turned to the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech, with which the firm has a long-standing relationship. GaMEP previously helped Harris obtain its ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications.

In early 2011, Bill Nusbaum, the Northeast region manager, and Tara Barrett, a lean services product manager for GaMEP, visited the plant for a day and a half to perform a value-stream-mapping analysis for Harris. The value-stream-mapping tool provides an analysis of the flow of materials through a production process to pinpoint areas for improvement.

The analysis by Nusbaum and Barrett revealed that Harris could ensure a steady flow of these components through the production process by placing “supermarkets” – locations in which a standard amount of inventory is stored – at various points along the production chain. When employees see the supermarkets are running low on materials, they simply restock them.

Harris officials also used the feedback from the value-stream mapping to establish a standard weekly schedule to produce these components.

Results

  • For the past 18 months, there have been no outages of these components for assembly into regulators every time they’ve been requested.
  • After working with GaMEP – Harris realized a 75% reduction in WIP related to this component, by reorganizing their production process. This improvement has led to significant savings for Harris and freed up cash that was previously tied up in inventory for other purposes.

Testimonial

“Georgia Tech has done a very good job with us,” said Mike Hogan, process engineer for Harris. “It’s been extremely valuable for us to have them as a resource.”

Harris was so pleased with the results of this project that it has undertaken value-stream-mapping for other production processes, added Mike Brown, process engineer for Harris.

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Getting Its House in Order: Ecolink achieves ISO 9001 certification and improves marketability and internal efficiency

ECOLINK | ISO 9001

December 2012

Customer Profile

Based in Tucker, GA., Ecolink produces industrial solvents. The firm, which has fewer than 20 full-time employees, develops the chemical formulations for their products and outsources their production to facilities elsewhere in the United States. The company receives the finished materials at its Tucker warehouse and ships them to its customers, which are primarily in the aerospace, military and power-generation industries. The company also drop-ships finished materials directly from the manufacturing source.

Situation

According to Ecolink Quality Manager Kevin Jeffers, prior to spring 2011 the firm had a long-term goal of obtaining ISO 9001 certification. The designation certifies that a company has standardized quality-management systems and formalized business processes in place to ensure that its customers’ needs are met.

“It was always a long-term plan because we deal with a lot of customers in the aerospace industry,” Jeffers said. Those aerospace customers often sent Ecolink surveys that typically asked for product-inspection assurances that Ecolink couldn’t make.

In early 2011, however, the long-term goal became an immediate one. That’s when one of Ecolink’s largest aerospace clients told the firm its future business was at risk without the ISO certification.

Solution

To achieve ISO 9001 certification, Ecolink turned to Craig Cochran, a project manager with the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech. Cochran specializes in process improvement and ISO-certification projects.

In April 2011, Cochran visited Ecolink to conduct a gap analysis to determine areas where the firm needed to improve to achieve certification. Broadly speaking, Cochran’s analysis showed that the firm had sufficient quality-management systems in place for its office operations but needed to improve its warehouse operations by increasing the inspection of goods, establishing a quarantine area for defective materials and organizing its processes better.

Cochran developed a project plan to help Ecolink work toward certification and continued to talk with the company throughout the summer of 2011 to ensure that progress was being made. He eventually conducted a pre-assessment audit to verify the firm was ready for certification, and in October 2011, the firm achieved certification.

Results

Jeffers said the designation has made an unquestionable impact on the firm. “The customer that requested our ISO certification emailed me shortly after October 2011 and asked for our ISO certificate, which I promptly sent,” Jeffers said. “That same day, they sent us another big order.”

Achieving certification also has affected how Ecolink evaluates potential vendors with which it may do business. “It’s a very good tie-breaker,” Jeffers said. “If I have two vendors that are equal, and one has ISO and one doesn’t, I go with the one that’s ISO [certified]. I also know that the vendor with ISO certification has a quality management system in place.”

The benefits of obtaining ISO certification have been two-fold, Cochran added. “As a sales and marketing tool, it’s something they needed to have,” he said. “They also recognized that it would bolster internal efficiency and management.”

Testimonial

“Craig did a great job,” Jeffers said. “I gave him a recommendation on LinkedIn, and I wholeheartedly meant every word of it. The ISO certification he helped us to achieve has certainly helped us when talking to potential customers about our quality standards and has been great for the culture of the company.”

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Creating a Masterpiece: Lawrenceville Manufacturer of Artist Canvas Creates a Lean Culture

TARA MATERIALS | Lean, Kaizen

December 2012

Customer Profile

In 1963, two paintbrush salesmen changed the coating process used for artist canvases from a hand process to a mass produced process. By purchasing a textile machine, rolling the fabric and applying gesso material continuously instead of sheet by sheet, Tara Materials was born. Today, Tara Materials, a privately-owned company headquartered in Lawrenceville, Georgia, operates three facilities, manufacturing plants in Lawrenceville and Tijuana, Mexico, and a distribution center in San Diego.

Situation

As with many manufacturers, Tara Materials was being affected by the recession and overseas manufacturers who were taking away customers by offering similar products at a lower price. Between 2009 and 2011, Tara Materials was able to make slow and steady improvements in the quality of its products and customers were starting to take notice. In early 2011, the company went through a restructuring and Mike Pedroza was asked to take over the plant manager role. As part of his new responsibilities, he was tasked to help the plant become more efficient. Based on his past experience with lean manufacturing, he knew that to make the changes management was expecting, he needed to make lean part of the everyday culture, and have it viewed as a long-term solution and not just a fad.

Knowing that he wanted to work with a university instead of a consulting group, Mike conducted a Google search on lean assistance in Georgia, and came across the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech. He met with Bill Ritsch, North Metro Region Manager, and Sam Darwin, project manager at the GaMEP, to review his situation. Observation of the operation suggested there was too much time being wasting moving material around in the facility, and that the machines were not set up in a configuration that would optimize output.

Solution

Ritsch and Darwin worked with Pedroza to craft a plan that would allow two machines to operate more efficiently by working side-by-side and discharging product toward each other. By operating with one packer for two machines, the flow of product became smoother, taking fewer steps and less time to get the material out.

As part of its overall improvement of processes, Tara Materials moved core material closer to the production line, created standard operating procedures for new lines, and reduced the material scrapped due to inconsistencies and defects from as much as 17 percent to between 5 and 7 percent.

Tara Materials is now in a growth stage and is bringing on new customers, as well as increasing order sizes of current customers. By improving processes and better utilizing equipment, Tara Materials is able to meet these growing demands and has recently added another shift and line, resulting in additional production of high-quality product and jobs.

Tara Materials is currently sending numerous employees to the GaMEP Lean Boot Camp open-enrollment course and is also working with Kelley Hundt, another GaMEP project manager, to help reach a goal of reducing machine set-up time by 30 percent.

In 2011 Tara Materials utilized the Georgia Retraining Tax Credit, a program that enables Georgia businesses to offset their investment in training of employees, and is in the process of submitting their paperwork for the 2012 credit.For more information on the tax credit, visit http://www.georgia.org/competitive-advantages/tax-credits/Pages/retraining.aspx.

Results

  • Tara Materials moved core material closer to the production line, reducing distance between material and line by 50 percent
  • Reduced scrapped material from as much as 17 percent to between 5 and 7 percent
  • Increased product production by 92 percent, from 13,000 yards of material to 25,000 yards of material per day

Testimonial

“We set up two kaizen events, in both the coating department and the rolling department. Productivity went through the roof and morale is high.” Pedroza said.

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Suwanee scrub dispensing machine manufacturer finds success with a niche marketplace

IPA | Value Stream Mapping, Kanban

December 2012

Customer Profile

Eighteen years ago, IPA, a contract and design manufacturing company, found a niche in the marketplace while it was working with a linen distribution client. Hospitals at the time were using rotational conveyors or wire racks to hold the scrubs worn by hospital personnel. As a way to keep scrubs on the shelf and ensure they were returned for cleaning once used, IPA patented an idea for a scrub machine. The new product quickly helped hospitals reduce costs and thus fulfilled a need in the marketplace. The product was so successful that six years ago IPA founders, Bob Fitzgerald and Ward Broom, both graduates of Georgia Tech, were able to close the contract design and manufacturing side of their business to focus solely on manufacturing scrub machines. The number of machines per hospital depends on the hospital size, ranging from one machine to as many as 120.

Situation

For many years, IPA had been building scrub dispensing machines in a batch assembly process, which is the manufacturing of products in sequential stages. However for IPA, this non-continuous technique was resulting in a lot of back-up in the process and long lead times.

IPA was planning a move to a different facility, but before doing so, wanted to ensure that these issues didn’t move with them. Over the years, Joel Eisler, vice president of operations at IPA, had taken a series of lean courses from Georgia Tech. Upon returning from each course, he tried to implement a lean tactic here and there, but was having trouble getting these changes to stick. Knowing that Georgia Tech offered an assistance program to manufacturers, IPA reached out to Sam Darwin, project manager, at the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech.

Solution

Darwin, and Bill Ritsch, North Metro Region Manager at GaMEP, spent four days at the plant in May 2011, working with Eisler and his team on ways they could reduce lead time, increase production and free up warehouse space. By conducting a value stream mapping exercise, they determined that to become more efficient and increase material flow, they needed to convert the batch process to cell manufacturing, allowing for the sub-assembly areas to all feed into one center cell. Before the value stream mapping, IPA was producing 118 units per quarter, with each unit taking a total of 55 hours to produce. Once the initial conversion to cell manufacturing was made, IPA began producing 126 units per quarter (approximately 24 additional units per year), reducing production time to 43 hours per unit. Through continuous improvement since the conversion, IPA has improved even more – to 160 units per quarter at 31 hours of labor per unit.

To implement cell manufacturing, IPA rearranged its facility, freeing up 1,400 square feet of floor space and reducing the time it took employees to search for items.

IPA has since joined the Georgia Tech North Metro Atlanta Lean Consortium, a group of manufacturers interested in sharing ideas around lean concepts. Through a benchmarking tour at another manufacturing plant, the company gained numerous opportunities for improvement, including removing flat shelves in their center cell assembly area. The shelves were replaced with carts that could move material from subassembly to production, utilizing kanban techniques within the carts as a visual way of determining when material inventories needed to be replenished. As a result, their stockout, an event that causes inventory to be exhausted, for subassembly are next to non-existent.

Eisler says, “In the past, everyone talked about lean in terms of manufacturing. But lean is a process throughout the company, not just manufacturing.” As a next step, IPA is working with GaMEP to conduct value stream mapping exercises in both pre-production process and post-production processes, to include areas such as sales, administrative support, and accounting.

IPA is currently filing for the Georgia Retraining Tax Credit, a program that enables Georgia businesses to offset their investment in training of employees. For more information on the tax credit, visit http://www.georgia.org/competitive-advantages/tax-credits/Pages/retraining.aspx.

Results

  • By converting from batch manufacturing to cell manufacturing, IPA produces 26 percent more units per quarter (from 118 units to 160 units)
  • IPA has reduced the amount of time it takes to produce one unit from 55 hours to 31 hours
  • Additional results from this conversion include: 1,400 square feet of freed up facility space, 50 percent reduction in overtime and a decrease in lead time from 3 weeks to 4 days
  • By implementing kanban in supply carts, IPA reduced work in process inventory to 10 percent

Testimonial

“The fact that Georgia Tech was an outsider helped make lean stick within the company. Through hands-on exercises, they really showcased how lean could help improve our company,” Eisler said.

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How Sweet It Is: Savannah fondant manufacturer achieves spectacular growth

FONDARIFIC | Root Cause

September 18, 2012

Fondarific Large Image

Customer Profile

Six years ago Laura Darnall and Lois Judy met on the sidelines of a Savannah soccer field while watching their daughters play on the same team. Darnall, then a kindergarten teacher, had developed an edible product she called “Candy Clay Dough” for her students to use in art projects. She brought the product to an end-of-the-year soccer party, where it caught the eye of Judy, a registered nurse. In 2008, the two teamed up and founded Fondarific, which makes fondant, a moldable icing used on cakes and other baked goods such as cupcakes and cookies. Today, Fondarific produces 14 flavors of fondant and its customers include bakeries, retailers, distributors and individual cooks across the globe.

Situation

In a year’s time, Fondarific went from production in a shed to a 1,500-square foot production facility to a 3,000 square foot facility. The firm was growing at a very fast pace and turned to the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech to help improve the production flow in the production facility it was occupying at the time and with overall growth planning.

Solution

Danny Duggar, a project manager with GaMEP’s Lean Services Group, used lean principles – such as reorganizing rooms to put work stations closer together, placing materials closer to the locations in the production process in which they are used and reducing wasted motion – to improve production flow. He also provided advice on equipment purchases.

Later, when Fondarific moved into its current 10,000-square-foot facility, Duggar oversaw production floor layout and spearheaded the company’s shift to increased automation in its manufacturing process.

Orjan Isacscon, Georgia Tech’s Coastal Region manager, also put Fondarific in touch with the Economic Gardening Program. The program, which is partially funded by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) and is run by the Technology Association of Georgia’s Savannah office, helped the firm optimize its website for search engines, provided insight on which companies are Fondarific’s biggest competitors and pinpointed which countries are strong markets for fondant.

Results

  • Fondarific’s relationship with GaMEP has paved the way for the company to grow to $2.5 million in revenues in 2011, and the firm now exports its product to Australia, Canada, Guatemala, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.
  • The company’s increased use of automation has reduced labor expenses by 18 percent, which in turn has allowed Fondarific to make its pricing more competitive.
  • Four years after beginning operations in a 10-foot-by-14-foot building in Darnall’s backyard, the women received recognition from the U.S. Small Business Administration as 2012 Georgia Small Business Persons of the Year.

Testimonial

“We could not have done all this without Georgia Tech,” Darnall said. 

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Digging Deep: Slurry-Pump Manufacturer Got to the Root-Cause in Oder to Improve On-Time Delivery

GEORGIA IRON WORKS | Root Cause

September 26, 2012

GIW (Georgia Iron Works) Large Image
Elliot Price, GaMEP Augusta Regional Manager and GIW Team Captains, from Left to Right, Todd Orander, Shannon Vick, Jim Miller, Will Nichols, Josh Foster, stand in front of the slurry pump.

Customer Profile

GIW Industries, with facilities in both Groveton and Thomson, Ga., produces slurry pumps. The pumps are used in a variety of settings – such as mining sites and dredge ships – to move often-abrasive mixtures of liquid and solids. The company’s production plants total about 100,000 square feet, and the company has about 500 employees.

Situation

In early 2011, the firm was determined to improve its on-time-delivery rate, which was already around 90 percent, and began working with Elliot Price, manager of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (GaMEP) Augusta regional office, to analyze, understand and implement the necessary improvements to make this happen.

Solution

Price and GaMEP trained GIW Industries officials and employees in root-cause analysis to enable them to pinpoint the reasons for delays and then determine and implement solutions. By doing so, employees were able to identify areas for improvement within the production of impeller, suction liner and shaft sleeve components.

Results

  • The amount of time the suction-liner team spends setting up dropped from 37 percent of the total production time to 11 percent, which in turn meant more liners on hand and fewer delivery delays.
  • After incorporating various production improvements, GIW Industries’ on-time-delivery rate has improved from 91 percent in 2011 to nearly 94 percent so far in 2012.
  • Production improvements have allowed the firm to save about $250,000 a year in labor and material costs.
  • The automation and outsourcing of certain processes have reduced the risk of worker injury by decreasing the amount of manual labor they have to perform.

Testimonial

“We are extremely pleased with the help we’ve received from Georgia Tech,” said Shannon Vick, process improvement manager at GIW Industries. “It’s led to real improvements in our facilities.”

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Cool Customer: Ice-Machine Manufacturer Boosts Sales and Reduces Expenses with Lean Techniques

MAX MANUFACTURING | Lean, 5S

June 18, 2012

Max Manufacturing Large Rounded Corners
Max Manufacturing standalone ice-vending building

Customer Profile

Tim Maxwell started Max Manufacturing in 2007. The 10-employee firm, located in Pelham, Ga., produces standalone ice-vending buildings that stand 15 feet tall and are 16 feet long. The buildings are essentially giant ice-vending machines, dispensing bags of ice and water to the public. Max’s customers buy the buildings, which can produce up to 10,000 pounds of ice per day, and install them on commercial land they either own or lease.

Situation

After building a couple of prototypes, Max Manufacturing was nearly ready to begin manufacturing the buildings on a commercial scale by 2008. However, Maxwell was unsure how to organize the production process at his 18,000-square-foot plant in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

Solution

In summer 2008, John Stephens and Art Ford of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech began working with Max Manufacturing. The two worked diligently with the company to incorporate the lean philosophy, which eliminates waste in production processes, into its factory operations.

The two designed an efficient plant layout in AutoCad, schooled the firm in point-of-use storage, helped Max Manufacturing create and maintain a clean and orderly workplace by teaching employees about the 5S process, which is “sort,” “set in order,” “shine,” “standardize” and “sustain.”

Results

  • Max Manufacturing is able to complete a “Just Ice” building within four days of receiving an order.
  • The company has $3 million in annual sales and estimates that the quick and efficient production process developed in collaboration with GaMEP has increased revenues by as much as $1 million annually.
  • Max Manufacturing estimates that its embrace of lean, with its emphasis on minimizing inventories, saves up to $40,000 a year in expenses.

Testimonial

“GaMEP is a fantastic partner,” said Tim Maxwell, the president, owner and founder of Max Manufacturing. “No matter what you ask for, they jump through hoops to give it to you.”

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Quick Turnaround: Toccoa Firm Boosts Sales by Accelerating Production Set-up and Shortening Response Times

OSBORNE WOOD PRODUCTS | Lean, Set-Up Reduction

February 14, 2012

Customer Profile

Leon Osborne started Osborne Wood Products in the garage of his Toccoa, Ga., home in 1979. Today, the firm, which produces a variety of items – including corbels, table legs, kitchen island legs and other items – for furniture manufacturers and individual users, sits on a sprawling campus nearby and ships more than 3,000 items per week.

Situation

By the start of the new millennium, Leon Osborne had grown frustrated by the amount of time it was taking to set up machinery for production runs. This overall lack of nimbleness meant the company often could not quickly fulfill customers’ orders. The company was routinely taking eight weeks to fulfill an order for a custom product and 12 days to produce out-of-stock items. “We needed to change,” Leon Osborne said.

Solution

In late 2007, Bill Ritsch, Karen Fite and Tara Barrett of Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) conducted a two-day lean workshop at Osborne Wood’s Toccoa, Ga., offices and then continued to consult with the company to maintain adherence to lean principles.

The instruction showed the company how to eliminate wasted movements and create efficient procedures on the production floor. The immersion into lean techniques has allowed Osborne Wood to slash machinery set-up times and increase the variety of products that it produces during a given timeframe.

Results

  • Reduced machinery set-up times by 87 percent, from an average of 30 minutes to an average of 4 minutes.
  • Reduced the size of a typical production run from 60 items to no more than 12 items.
  • Increased to 92 percent the number of orders that Osborne Wood ships the day it receives them. Before adopting lean, the company was only able to ship 80 percent of its orders within three days of receiving them.
  • Increased the number of orders shipped each week to more than 3,000.
  • Boosted sales by 20 percent in 2011 compared with the year before, a result that the company says is due in part to its quick turnaround times.

Testimonial

“We can produce product quickly and effectively,” said Leon Osborne, the owner and founder of the company. “We have created a standard of customer service that is difficult for our competitors to match.”

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Stamp of Approval: RBW Logistics Turns to Georgia Tech for Help in Obtaining ISO 9001 Certification

RBW LOGISTICS | ISO 9001, Lean

June 6, 2012

RBW Logistics Large Image

Al Dallas, Nicole Floyd, and Elliot Price, GaMEP’s Augusta Regional Manager, check efficiency logs at the Tea Blending Operation.

Customer Profile

Founded in 1954, RBW Logistics provides third-party warehousing, distribution and transportation services. The company currently has 100 full-time employees and about 50 temporary staff members. It provides logistics services for 80 percent of the Augusta market’s manufacturers and has nearly 2 million square feet of facilities in and around the city.

Situation

As the company continued to expand services and add customers, it wanted to obtain ISO 9001 certification to make sure it had quality-management systems in place and to provide a statement to customers that the firm could meet their needs.

Solution

In the late 1990s, Elliot Price of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech conducted an initial review of the company’s operations, trained the firm in quality-management issues and improvements, and instructed officials on how to conduct internal audits to monitor the performance of its quality-management systems.

With Price’s assistance, the firm obtained ISO 9001 certification in 1998 and, under Price’s guidance, was recertified in 2004 and 2011.

The relationship between RBW and GaMEP has become a long-term partnership. The company also participates in a regional consortium organized by Price and GaMEP that instructs firms in lean operational techniques to reduce wasted time and effort in operational processes.

Results

  • RBW officials estimate that ISO 9001 certification has increased its annual revenue by about 10 percent, as some customers insist on their contractors having the designation.

Testimonial

“Elliot has been an absolute dream,” said. Nicole Floyd, ISO facilitator for RBW Logistics. “He knows his stuff backward and forward, and we have an ongoing relationship with him. It’s not a situation where he advises you and then you don’t see him for another year.”

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