Small Investment Produces Great Results for Manufacturer

Fisnar Inc. is a world leader in Industrial Robots and Automation Solutions for fluid dispensing. The company, which was formed in 1986, is headquartered in Pine Brook, New Jersey. In addition to its American headquarters, Fisnar has two subsidiaries outside of the USA, in France and in Hong Kong. In all other countries they sell through a network of stocking distributors.

Fisnar offers a large selection of products that meet their customer needs. Customers include Medical, Electronic, Jewelry, Automotive and general industrial OEM assembly operations. The company employees 26 in its US operation and does $8,000,000 in annual sales.

Steve Kohnle, Vice President and General Manager of Fisnar, Inc. contacted New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP) because he was very interested in introducing Lean into his company. One of Fisnar’s sister locations went through a Lean Transformation with another MEP and was extremely happy with the results, which is why he reached out to NJMEP.

NJMEP visited Fisnar to meet with Mr. Kohnle and Bridgette Wu, the company’s senior accountant and to tour the facility. On a follow-up visit NJMEP conducted a Lean assessment. A transformation plan was put in place. To get a complete understanding of transitioning to Lean and to be able to explain what the company would experience to colleagues Mr. Kohnle and Ms. Wu attended two Lean workshops conducted by NJMEP—Lean Tools for the Office and Principles of Lean Manufacturing both with Live Simulation. Attending the two workshops gave Mr. Kohnle and Ms. Wu a thorough understanding of the process they were about to embark on, which made “selling” the Lean Transition to everyone that would be impacted by it very easy. In addition to attending the Lean workshops, Rich Ballinger, Fisnar’s Warehouse and Facilities Manager, attended the complimentary Inventory workshop that NJMEP offers quarterly.

As a result of Mr. Kohnle and Ms. Wu attending the two workshops Fisnar began its Lean Transformation with a Value Stream Mapping Event and then consulting with NJMEP on developing efficiencies related to their manufacturing operations. Fisnar also participated in additional complimentary NJMEP workshops and decided to go for ISO 9001 certification as they learned the importance of having it while making the Lean transition.

When completing the independent NIST survey that was conducted eight months after the second workshop Mr. Kohnle reported that as a result of the work with NJMEP Fisnar:

  • Achieved an overall cost savings of $55,000.
  • Invested $20,000 in new processes or products.
  • Hired 2 new employees and was able to retain 23 incumbent workers.

Mr. Kohnle spoke about working with NJMEP, “NJMEP was easy to work with. From the first meeting I knew I had made the right choice in contacting an MEP. Based on the recommendation I had received about working with an MEP, NJMEP even exceeded my expectations. For an investment of a little over $1,100 and two days of our time, Ms. Wu and I fully understood the importance of Lean and even were able to implement a few of the things we learned in the workshops.”

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