Since conducting the energy assessment and implementing MDI, Nutritional Resources has:
- Added smart thermostats to their air conditioning units, saving $15,000 a year.
- Installed room monitoring sensors to their lighting, saving an average of $20,000 a year.
- Improved communications, resulting in 100 percent of the operators on seven production lines on the same metrics and problem-solving methodologies.
- Decreased film loss from 10 percent to 2 percent.
- Improved production by 10 percent through implementing 6S into their workspace.
- Begun implementing electronic MDI boards to report out real-time information.
Twenty-five years ago, Jim Mathews owned weight loss clinics and was buying product from his suppliers. Realizing he could make high quality products himself, he began producing the goods out of his house and today owns Nutritional Resources, a 100,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Augusta, GA that provides both company branded and private-label weight loss products to doctors and clinics worldwide.
Jim Flynn, COO of Nutritional Resources, was looking to focus on two key areas for 2019 – reducing energy spending and creating a culture that supported problem solving and empowering all team members. Up until this point, the company had put processes in place around communication to make improvements in these areas, but Flynn quickly realized they needed a more formal process that would bridge the gap between the support teams, leadership, and the shop floor. Flynn said, “We needed to get our team to think beyond what the issues were and instead concentrate on ways to solve problems so that we could be more productive.”
Flynn called Elliot Price, Augusta region manager for the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech. Price knew that Nutritional Resources would be an ideal candidate for the no-cost energy and sustainability assessment, provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) and conducted by GaMEP. The GaMEP team, including students and co-ops, came to the plant to identify areas of excess energy spend and make recommendations for cost-savings improvements. Flynn said, “The team made different recommendations and thus far we’ve implemented two of the suggestions, resulting in a cost savings of more than $35,000 per year.”
Around the same time, the team started working with Mike Stonecipher, project manager at GaMEP, on ways to improve their communication. Stonecipher discovered the team had some of the fundaments, including communication boards, but the company had too many metrics, not enough structure around these interactions, and needed to improve their accountability.
Stonecipher began teaching Flynn and the rest of the team about Managing for Daily Improvement (MDI), a structured management walk-through that occurs every morning, at the same time. During this time [8:00 a.m. at Nutritional Resources], the management team walks to each critical area of the plant, talks with the production team, and focuses on problem solving first thing in the morning. Flynn said, “This has helped us tremendously. We no longer come in, check email, and get bogged down in our day. Instead we are out on the floor starting with our receiving team and working our way back to the production area.”
The team has narrowed down their metrics, monitors them daily, is expected to be prepared to report out each morning, and notify others if there are issues while bringing solutions to the forefront. Flynn continued, “We have gone from chaotic to a structured, organized process and the MDI walk-throughs have not only opened up our lines of communication but have been a real morale booster for everyone at the organization. The team is communicating more effectively and in doing so, we are now able to get them the resources to support their needs and fix the issues.”