Ranger Industries is a manufacturer of supplies for the arts-and-crafts industry – inkpads, glitter glue, and embossing powders. It has 55 employees and $8 million in annual sales. Founded in 1929, Ranger originally manufactured inkpads for banks. Vincent A. DiLascia bought the company in 1975. He and his wife, Anne Generas, expanded the company by introducing new ink colors allowing them to open doors to a new market—the arts and crafts industry. Although DiLascia has retired, Ranger remains a family business, manufacturing it products exclusively in its New Jersey.
The company, which was operating two manufacturing facilities, was marginally profitable. Its expenses – from labor to taxes – were soaring. Its competition was heading to cheaper environments overseas. Ranger considered moving production to Asia, however rejected the idea. The company wanted to avoid the language barrier, time-zone differences, and long lead times. Ranger wanted to be able to get their products to its customers quickly, to meet the demands of the arts and crafters rapidly changing tastes. The company had the creativity to develop new product and be successful but was hampered by production inefficiencies. Ranger’s objective was to: improve customer service levels, reduce inventory, provide faster order fulfillment, improve employee job satisfaction, remain competitive and keep production stateside.
Ranger teamed up with NJMEP to transform the company to a Lean operation. With the help of a $42,000 New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Customized Training Grant, Ranger was able to change its operational structure to an “empowered employee” make to order business. This change allowed Ranger to free up cash that had been invested in inventory and reinvested it in a better approach for satisfying the customers demand for just in time delivery for their products.
Lean provided Ranger the route to change in their business performance. The company consolidated is manufacturing to one facility, introduced a visually cued inventory system and looked to its employees to suggest ways to improve the company’s operations.
As a result of the training implemented through NJMEP: forty jobs were retained and ten new jobs were created, sales increased by $500,000, Ranger realized a cost savings of $300,000 and reinvested $392,000 in the company. The company was able to reduce shipping time from three weeks to less than five days, a major product changeover time was reduced from 45 mins. to 10 mins. using Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) techniques and daily “fire-fighting” was eliminated.
“The customized training that Ranger received has had a tremendous impact on our overall operations. Our company is in a stronger position now that our employees understand and continuously implement Lean Manufacturing concepts and our stock-outs have been minimized – which has enabled us to increase sales and revenue. We want to thank and sincerely hope that we will be able to continue to work with the NJMEP and the NJDOL to improve our manufacturing operations and position ourselves for future success,” Justin Russo, President.