S.S. White Technologies Inc. is a Piscataway, New Jersey manufacturer of flexible shaft assemblies, bulk shafts and abrasive units for the aircraft, industrial, medical and automotive markets. Dr. Samuel Stockton White, a practicing dentist who helped pioneer his field with the introduction of a high-speed flexible shaft dental drill, founded the company in 1844. S.S. White soon developed the flexible shaft for use in automobile speedometers, power tools, instrumentation, motor controls and consumer products.
During World War II, the company designed various drive assemblies for the aircraft industry, furthering the company’s expertise in the development of complex flexible shaft assemblies of exacting quality. In 1968, Pennwalt Corporation acquired S.S. White, and in 1972, S.S. White Industrial Division relocated to its current Piscataway location. A young engineer named Rahul Shukla joined the company in 1973 and focused his energy during the next two decades on performing extensive research and documentation. His efforts were bolstered by a senior research engineer named Adam Black III. In 1988, Shukla was named President/CEO when S.S. White was acquired from Pennwalt.
Today, the company has 210 employees and generates annual sales of $22 million. It comprises four divisions specializing in abrasive jet machining, transportation market instrumentation, flexible shafts, and surgical instruments. The latter division is the result of the company’s recent acquisition of S.S. White Medical Products Inc. (formerly Snap-On Medical Products Inc.).
NJMEP Field Agent Lorna Runkle placed a cold call to Mr. Shukla in April 2001 and followed up with a QuickView assessment and training recommendations to address concerns regarding plan execution, employee retention, lack of documentation, and standardization of computer system information. The project was initiated in August 2001 and concluded in April 2004. During that period, NJMEP and Wayne Chanseski of the Center for Manufacturing Systems conducted a one-day Introduction to Lean Workshop with Simulation for 25 employees; Field Agent Runkle facilitated a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) discussion involving 10 sales and marketing employees; and representatives from CCR (Cost Recovery Services LLC) helped to maximize principal stockholders’ R&D tax credit through interaction with S.S. White engineers and accountants.
NJMEP Agent Runkle maintained the business relationship for the duration of the project, keeping the client informed and ensuring access to various public and private resources. S.S. White reported the following quantifiable impact based on a client satisfaction/cost benefit impact survey: a $201,500 increase in sales; $120,000 in retained sales; $211,500 cost savings; a $185,000 investment in plant and equipment; an $87,500 investment in information systems; a $230,000 investment in other areas; $93,500 savings on investments; 19 employees retained; 35 jobs created; and at least $170,000 in increased available cash. Future plans call for further implementation of Lean Manufacturing, including Cell Manufacturing and Kanbans.
“NJMEP is a valuable resource for us to tap into as we execute on our growth strategy in 2005 and beyond,” assessed President Shukla. “NJMEP has helped us identify some of the issues we didn’t even know existed,” he continued. In summary, Shukla added, “NJMEP was the catalyst in translation of ideas to concrete action plans.”