Cementex Products, Inc. is a privately held manufacturer of insulated hand tools and a distributor of electrical personal protective equipment (PPE). Originally located on Canal Street in New York City, the company was purchased and relocated to Burlington, NJ in October of 1999. The company eventually moved to its current location to secure enough room for growth.
Cementex wanted to grow. To do so they needed to improve cash flow and increase production capacity.
In order to meet their objective Cementex would reduce the cost of manufacturing through Lean initiatives such as reduced WIP inventory, improved product flow, workplace organization and scheduling.
NJMEP was asked to conduct a Lean Opportunity Assessment of the company’s process and facility. Among other things, NJMEP collected key performance metrics for a comparison to world class operations in Cementex’s business.
Based upon the assessment results and conversations with management, NJMEP determined that implementation of the following Lean Concepts and Principles would be beneficial for Cementex Products:
- Lean Manufacturing – Application in the Manufacturing Process
- Value Stream Mapping
- Implementing 5S for Workplace Organization
- Using Standard Work Methods in Cells
- Production Pull / Kanban
- Problem Solving
Training the company’s workforce would be the challenge. At the time of the project, the company employed 36 people, 2 of which were full time salespeople and are always on the road. The remaining 34 people work single shift, five days a week. Five managers reported to the President with group leaders reporting to the managers. The group leaders work in production, have demonstrated leadership in their area and are considered “go to” people.
Over the course of one year, training was completed. The “classroom” portion of the training was done in the lunchroom while the “hands on” training was done on the shop floor.
Cementex’s Lean implementation assisted in minimizing employee turnover and averting layoffs while also:
- Reducing lead time to its customers
- Improving the quality of its products
- Continuing to remove waste from the production process
- Decreasing inventory levels and improving cash flow
- Helping the company react faster to market trends
The company also:
- Saw a 14 % increase in sales
- Achieved a cost savings of $100,000
- Reported 4 new hires
- Contributed $50,000 to the company’s bottom line through New Products and Processes
- Saved $33,000 on training thanks to a New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDoL) Customized Training Grant that NJMEP assisted in securing.
Steve Russo, Cementex president reported, “The Lean training that we have completed to date has improved our workplace organization, reduced our lead time, increased our product velocity and has contributed to a 14 % increase in sales.”
He continued to add, “In concert with our Lean training, we have invested in additional process and quality control equipment including a combination glove and blanket tester (including power supply), a laser cutting/engraving machine, a viscosity tester and a support crane. This equipment was purchased and installed at a cost of $29,500. Additionally, we are increasing our fixture capacity and will soon purchase an automated packaging center (estimated cost: $52,000. in order to more efficiently process the capacity we have added and plan to add.”
Cementex and NJMEP continue the longstanding relationship. They are currently working together through another NJDoL grant for the purpose of maintaining & advancing the Lean process – continuing the progress made under the previous grant.
This Success Story was featured in the October 2013 edition of Manufacturing Matters. Click here to return to the newsletter.