Captive Plastics, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of plasticpackaging for the Personal Care, Health Care, Food and Beverage markets. Captive Plastics provides customers with “one stop shopping” through its capability to produce plastic bottles as well as closures and overcaps nationwide. In addition to blow molding and injection molding Captive Plastics offers in-house services such as design, engineering, tooling, decorating and assembly of products. Headquartered in Piscataway, NJ the company has five manufacturing plants from coast to coast, as well as a majority interest in Pet Power located in Etten-Leur, Holland.
In the fall of 1999 Captive Plastics was requested by one of their pharmaceutical customers to produce their packaging in Phillipsburg, NJ within a “controlled environment. In a move consistent with their long term plans to grow their capabilities to service and attract key customers in the Health Care market, Captive Plastics, Inc. of Piscataway, New Jersey agreed to add a “Controlled Environment Production Area” (CEPA) to its Phillipsburg, New Jersey facility.
When Albert Deemer was hired as Quality Manager in November 1999, in addition to his other responsibilities, he was also given responsibility for preparing the Captive Plastic employees to work in the “Controlled Environment Production Area”. The staff at Captive Plastics had very limited knowledge of this kind of environment. The company also had an aggressive goal for completion of the project – eight months.
Albert realized they needed outside assistance to make the CEPA project a first class operation. Albert had previously worked with Manufacturing Extension Programs (MEP) in Nebraska and Pennsylvania. According to Albert, these organizations had “always been helpful in shortening searches and providing quality answers to manufacturing and business issues”. Albert knew the local MEP, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP), a NIST/MEP affiliate, would be a resource that would help them with this project.
Albert contacted the NJMEP headquarters, and soon thereafter Bill Wirth, the field agent for Warren County, met with Albert at their Phillipsburg plant. A variety of topics were discussed including FDA certification, ISO registration, and the “Controlled Environment Production Area” (CEPA) installation program.
The most urgent matter was the need to properly prepare the Captive Plastic workforce for the changes that a “CEPA” environment entails. Gowning procedures, entry and exit requirements, the sources of and problems created by microscopic particulate, proper methods for moving material, for cleaning work surfaces, and many other details that are new to individuals who have not previously worked in a “CEPA” designated area. Among the members of the production team there is always some degree of concern and anxiety in advance of these kinds of changes, and Albert was anxious to calm these concerns with good information from an expert source. He also wanted documented Standard Operating Procedures regarding these detailed requirements that he knew would be completely correct and would pass muster with his customer on the first audit.
Bill and Albert agreed that the use of a consultant was the best approach, and the NJMEP Field Agent tapped into his extensive database to locate the right resource, assisted in the framing of the proposal, and detailed deliverables. A proposal was presented to Albert in early June. Soon thereafter a contract was approved to do the work.
Much of the training was done using Video training tapes. After completion of the course of instruction for the current employees, the tapes were turned over to Albert and the staff at Captive Plastics. This has made the company self-sufficient to conduct refresher training on a regular basis as well as to indoctrinate new employees.
The last phase of the work done by NJMEP included having the “expert resource” take actual particulate measurements to certify that the “Controlled Environment Production Area” did qualify as Class 10,000. This certification culminated an extensive capital investment by Captive Plastics in this important market segment.
The CEPA room was up and running in October 2000. Shortly thereafter it was certified by Captive’s pharmaceutical customer to produce their bottles.
Captive Plastics has started marketing this new capability to other pharmaceutical customers with a very positive response. According to Albert, the “Controlled Environment Production Area” has already helped Captive “gain and maintain a dialog with three or four new pharmaceutical clients”. Those who have toured the facility found it to be “first class”!
According to Albert Deemer, “without NJMEP, it would have been hard to identify experts and implement projects of this caliber. NJMEP’s quick response was very important in meeting an aggressive goal.”