Bestwork Industries for the Blind, Inc., established in 1981, is a non-profit contract assembler for government programs under the umbrella of the National Industries for the Blind. Located in Runnemeade, NJ, they employ about 50 visually impaired people who sew various products, including uniforms, mostly utilized by the military.
NJMEP began working with Bestwork Industries for the Blind in 2005, providing expertise in plant layout and work flow to help them in their need to deliver the US Army uniforms on time. Enjoying the success, Bestwork expanded the project with NJMEP working with several resources they have made substantial improvements to their entire operation. No longer are there large batches of work in process between operators nor bottle necks in their process, instead you see a smooth flow of work that is top quality and on schedule.
Managed through the NJMEP field agent, the resources worked with the Bestwork staff and assemblers helping them like no one could before to put together a process that has reduced lead time, improved quality, and lowered their overall costs. The implementation of lean was guided by the plan established by a Value Stream Map. Highlighting various areas of waste, kaizen projects such as 5S and cellular/work flow were initiated. Thus as a direct result of implementing these lean concepts, Bestwork has experienced improved profit margin, increased revenue, and increased customer satisfaction. Due to the improvements made over the past 12 months, there was reported an increase of $816,000 in sales, and retained sales to be about $3 million. Cost savings in the form of labor, materials, energy and overhead was reported to be around $432,000, during this period as well.
With the additional sales, approximately 5 jobs were added and about 30 jobs retained since the improvements were completed.
Chuck Kingsland, Vice President of Bestwork Industries for the Blind Inc., stated he is very satisfied with NJMEP’s services and he will continue to work with NJMEP. Chuck Kingsland stated, “Due to the productivity improvements- overall morale was greatly improved. NJMEP and the resources solved problems that were causing stress throughout the organization. Other talented, skilled and dedicated people could not solve these problems, but NJMEP did!”