Gulton, Inc. of Metuchen, New Jersey has manufactured thermal print heads for thermal printer manufacturers and aftermarket needs for over 33 years. Gulton, which currently has 29 employees, became a privately owned company in April 2002.
Building on a five-year relationship, NJMEP Field Agent Lorna Runkle contacted the company and learned of its goals to improve manufacturing productivity and quality, and to reduce costs. Runkle laid out a plan to build on Gulton’s previous preliminary Lean Manufacturing training by expanding organization-wide skills to facilitate successful implementation.
Field Agent Runkle assisted in securing a New Jersey Department of Labor training grant for Lean Manufacturing and other organizational training. In conjunction with third party resource Dave Hollinger, she laid out a program for the entire Gulton staff to learn Value Stream Mapping; 5S; Cellular; Pull/Kanban; Set-up Reduction; Continuous Improvement Support; Team Building; and Operations Management. The ongoing project has been under way for one year.
To date, the batch size in assembly operations has been reduced from 20 pieces to four. Work in process is considerably lower, and lead time has decreased drastically. What previously took from four to six days in assembly is now completed in less than eight hours. Overall, employee participation in the problem solving process has increased. Gulton anticipates continued progress and further improvement.
“The trainer from NJMEP is extremely knowledgeable and very cooperative,” assessed Gulton President and CEO Om Srivastava. “He has an excellent rapport with associates at our company. This training has assisted in increasing our sales by 53%,” Srivastava continued, “helped reduce scrap by 32% and played a part in reducing in-warranty return rate by 42%. Lean Manufacturing has given us an opportunity to develop new products and technology which will help us in future growth.”
“Our Lean implementation continues with the guidance of NJMEP advisors,” the president explained. “We plan to continue to work with NJMEP in our Lean progress in assembly. We also plan to implement Lean techniques with NJMEP’s guidance in other production areas and our office and R&D areas.”