For over 40 years Jerome Industries, a family owned business, has been designing and manufacturing modified, custom and standard power supplies. Its current clients are in the medical, industrial and military markets and require power sources for mission critical applications. Medical devices like the the artificial heart, portable ultrasound systems, surgical monitors and scopes use the company’s power supplies.
Jerome’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Silvia Scura DelPriore, spent 20 years with the company as the human resource manager and vice president before assuming her current role. According to DelPriore, Jerome’s biggest challenge is competing with offshore manufacturing.
In 2005 Jerome Industries had close to 100 employees, but by 2008 they were down to just 80. Many of Jerome’s customers had been major telecommunications companies that purchased large volumes of products. These orders began to move overseas and Jerome’s sales spiraled downward. Management realized that significant changes needed to be made. They shifted their focus to the medical industry, however quickly realized they would need to provide higher quality products to compete in this field. In addition to improving its products, Jerome needed to develop a sales and marketing plan that would identify specific markets, products and customers.
Jerome’s Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Jim Schon, had previously worked with NJMEP and identified the organization as the perfect resource to guide Jerome. NJMEP’s Field Agent, Lorna Runkle met with Mr. Schon, and Ms. DelPriore, to discuss the company’s situation. Runkle conducted a Lean Opportunity Assessment to identify the specific needs of the company. Results were then compared to industry standards. Jerome needed to improve manufacturing cycle time, customer lead-time, on-time delivery and productivity rates. To address these areas, Jerome needed to revamp its production processes to incorporate Lean methodologies. With the help of NJMEP, Jerome implemented a Lean Continuous Improvement Support Project to transform the company. In order for that to succeed, the company needed to retrain its workforce.
To help finance the training, NJMEP assisted Jerome in applying for a New Jersey Department of Labor Customized Training Grant. Once approved, NJMEP provided the trainers that would introduce Lean concepts and tools: Value Stream Mapping, 5S System Workplace Organization and Pull Kanban. These courses would allow management and staff to assess some of their current policies and procedures and map out a strategy for improvement. Additionally, Lean would empower Jerome’s workforce to improve its processes and products. Jerome created a Customer Complaint Procedure Flow Chart to help staff pinpoint particular areas that were lacking and enabled them to bring customer issues to Jerome’s attention immediately.
Jerome Industries Lean Project proved to be a success for the organization. DelPriore credits NJMEP with identifying and helping them implement the changes necessary to compete in the ever-changing global economy.
As a result of training its workforce in Lean practices, Jerome experienced significant improvements: cycle time was reduced by 33%, the internal reject rate decreased by 14%, on-time delivery improved by 12% and there was a 36% increase in revenue dollars per employee. Improved communication between workers and departments resulted in a positive culture change and better workmanship. Jerome also saw a cost savings of $100,000.
Jerome Industries is currently working with NJMEP to become ISO 13485 certified. ISO 13485 is specifically for companies that design and manufacture medical devices. This certification will give Jerome a competitive advantage and provide access to companies that would have otherwise been unapproachable.
Silvia DelPriore, reported, “We chose NJMEP because of their expertise and reputation. We have increased and retained sales, reduced costs, and increased investments. We retained 10 jobs and saved on unnecessary investments. We definitely attribute our profits in this tight market to Lean.”
Jerome Industries is a participant in NJMEP’s Made in New Jersey program. Click here to view their profile!