Ferro Corporation purchased PDI (Pigment Dispersions Incorporated) in 1992, adding it to Ferro’s Performance Chemicals Division. The business manufactures colorants for the thermoset and thermoplastics industries and sells them to the general compounding and coatings industry.
NJMEP Field Agent Lorna Runkle made a cold call to Ferro Corporation’s Operations Manager, Tom Loschiavo. Runkle then completed a one-day business needs assessment, and further recommended pursuing a state training grant to finance Ferro’s Lean Manufacturing training and implementation assistance. She also coordinated a meeting between the client and third-party resource, Dr. One-Jang Jeng, Ph.D., who spent one day at the plant making observations and taking notes.
Loschiavo and fellow Ferro representatives Bill Purcell, Dave Malysa and Sherry Schuster participated in the opening and closing meetings with NJMEP and Dr. Jeng. Numerous employees from various departments actively contributed to interviews, discussions, observations, photographs and recordings.
Within a month of Dr. Jeng’s visit, he presented the company with a full-scale report on its ergonomics situation, complete with a video and CD of photos. His report addressed areas of ergonomic concern, including potential cumulative trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. As a result, management became better equipped to investigate and propose solutions to improve existing conditions and take preventive measures for the future.
The ergonomic assessment project helped to equip Ferro Corporation to meet EHS goals for a safe working environment (zero lost-time accidents and zero recordables). At its current pace, Ferro will achieve 12 years without a lost-time accident in May 2005.
NJMEP is currently coordinating Lean Manufacturing training for Ferro through a New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) Customized Training Grant. The company is also relying on NJMEP for assistance in conducting a customer survey. Thus, the outlook for future cooperative projects looks positive.
“The assessment was used as a training aid for reviewing safe procedures for lifting, and a good reminder on working as teams to handle heavy materials,” commented Loschiavo. “It was also a confirmation of the effectiveness of the training and procedures we have implemented at the site over the past decade.
“It was a pleasure working with NJMEP,” he continued. “They brought fresh ideas to the business. I was not aware of the valuable resources that are available to us.”