Implementation of lean manufacturing techniques through a value stream mapping program has enabled Girard Equipment Inc. to reduce set-up times for their equipment, and has resulted in cost savings of $20,000 – $30,000.
Girard Equipment, Inc. is a family owned and operated manufacturer started in 1952 to serve chemical transport companies and tank transport equipment builders. This 26 person company has annual sales of approximately $7,000,000 and is located in Rahway, New Jersey. Girard is one of North America’s leading builders of the most widely used safety equipment for the tank trailer industry. Their most popular product lines are pressure relief vents and magnetic vacuum breakers.
Introduced to the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP) at an industry trade show in 2000, Tim Girard, President, was eager to meet with NJMEP to discuss their capabilities and services, and how they can be integrated into Girard’s planning and growth. NJMEP conducted a general business assessment at Girard and through this assessment opportunities for improvement were noted in their production processes and management systems. After prioritizing their needs and discussing Girard’s future plans, Girard commenced a lean manufacturing program at their facility. The program began with four members of their manufacturing team attending a Principles of Lean Workshop and followed by a value stream mapping (VSM) program.
The VSM program was implemented to map the “as is” manufacturing process for a major product line and to create a “to be” map for the future. NJMEP managed the program, and implemented the program at Girard in cooperation with the Center for Manufacturing Systems located at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey. At the conclusion of the program, many improvements were made such as optimizing material replenishment methods, optimizing appropriate order points/quantities, reduction of lead times and equipment set up times, and an increase in inventory turns. Additional improvements will be made throughout the facility as the Girard team applies the value stream mapping techniques across their operations.
“Lean manufacturing, although yet to be fully implemented throughout our facility, has saved us from between $20,000 – $30,000 in operating costs. The value steam mapping is currently saving us $30,000 per annum. Lead time reduction has enabled to increase our sales and employee retention as well”, stated Tim Girard. This resulted in a return on investment of under two months.
Lean manufacturing at Girard continues today and will soon be incorporated facility-wide. “NJMEP helped me realize the full potential of our business. They explained that we are not alone with the problems we face and they are quick to offer a possible solution and make good concrete recommendations from industry professionals who’ve been there. NJMEP has helped our small manufacturing firm offset most of Governor McGreevy’s Corporate Business Tax enacted last year”, said Mr. Girard.