Certech, Inc. manufactures injection-molded ceramic parts used in the investment casting of turbine engines. Certech is based in Wood Ridge, New Jersey and has additional manufacturing plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Mexico and the UK. The company was founded in 1978 and was purchased by Carpenter Technologies Corporation in 1997. Today, Certech ‘s NJ Operations has roughly 300 employees in two facilities equaling 95,000 square feet.
NJMEP followed up on a telemarketing lead to learn that the company wanted to build on basic Lean Manufacturing training that had been provided by its parent company.
The NJMEP field agent began by securing Richard Reale of Positive Impact Inc. as a third party resource. The field agent also assisted Certech in obtaining financial assistance through the Department of Labor; organized the project; and chose the appropriate Lean Kaisen events, identified the resources necessary to implement them and oversaw the events’ implementation.
After conducting a Lean Opportunity Assessment and identifying areas needing improvement by applying Lean Methodology, NJMEP created a Value Stream Map and conducted Lean Kaisen events to reduce or eliminate waste in Certech’s operations. The entire Certech staff received training (in English and Spanish, as necessary) in Principles of Lean Manufacturing and 5S. An important goal of the project was to create a Lean culture at the company. The Kaisen events, which included Cellular Manufacturing, Kanban and 5S, were conducted on the shop floor and involved many key employees.
The Lean Transformation at Certech began in March 2005, and is scheduled for completion in March 2006. Despite the project’s current ongoing status, many of the events conducted have already improved product flow and reduced costs throughout the plant. Improved efficiency, reduced waste and decreased cycle time of products to the customer are evident.
Quantifiable impact of the project includes a seven percent increase in sales; anticipated annual cost savings of more than $250,000 with no additional capital requirements or labor expenses; a lead time reduction of eight percent; and job retention of 40 employees.
Certech has stated interest in working with NJMEP on future projects. The company currently is continuing its Lean training, with additional projects planned for 5S, Kanban and Administrative Lean. There is continued support for implementing 5S throughout the plant and undertaking further cost reduction projects.
“The project has been a success because we involved all of our people in the training,” explained Certech Site Manager Andrew Belling. “Once trained in the Lean Methodology, the solutions for improvement came from our employees. They have a vested interest in the success of the program and their ideas for improvement.
“NJMEP has provided us with assistance which has allowed our organization to make continuous improvements towards efficiency and waste reduction to remain competitive in a changing marketplace,” summarized Belling, “which we otherwise would not have been able to do.”