Preparing for Growth: Georgia Tech Helps Custom Orthotics Manufacturer Increase Production by 200 Percent

OrthoCare production

LAGRANGE – OrthoCare Labs was preparing to move into a new manufacturing facility when it contacted Derek Woodham, a Georgia Tech regional manager who serves west Georgia companies. The collaboration that resulted helped the company expand its sales by more than $1 million per year, add seven jobs, save nearly a quarter million dollars – and make a big investment in the LaGrange, Ga. community.

OrthoCare production

Dr. Ric Hollstrom (left), owner of OrthoCare Labs, discusses the company’s products with Derek Woodham, Georgia Tech regional manager. Woodham helped the company redesign its manufacturing process to increase production.

The seven-year-old company, which makes custom orthotics – shoe inserts – for athletes, diabetics and others, is now poised for additional growth.

“We would not have been able to grow at the rate we have grown if we were still making our product the way we did before Derek helped us,” said Dr. Ric Hollstrom, the company’s owner. “Derek helped us change the complete flow of our process to make it smoother.”

Orthotics are by their nature custom products. Physicians make molds or take three-dimensional measurements of patients’ feet, then send the casts or data to OrthoCare. The company’s first production step is to carve a wooden replica of each patient’s feet using a precision router. From a variety of orthotic-grade polymer sheets, the devices are then vacuum-formed around the replica feet, finished and packaged for shipping.

Prior to the move, Dr. Hollstrom’s five staff members produced the orthotics in a departmental-type flow, in which one person was responsible for each aspect of the production, and would pass the products on to the next department in batches. This batch process created the potential for quality issues, and sometimes order confusion, because hundreds of individual products had to be kept separate.

“One of the issues was consistency of our product,” said Dr. Hollstrom. “Maintaining consistency when each product was custom-made was difficult.  It was also difficult to judge if the required consistency was there every time.”

Woodham, who is part of Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), visited the company’s old facility to learn the production process and talk with the staff. He listened to Dr. Hollstrom’s concerns and heard his interest in adopting lean processes, which systematically reduce wasted time and resources. And Woodham understood the company’s potential for growth.

OrthoCare computer specifications

Dr. Ric Hollstrom (foreground), owner of OrthoCare Labs, and Derek Woodham, Georgia Tech regional manager, examine computer-based specifications for the company’s custom orthotic products. Woodham helped the company redesign its manufacturing process to increase production.

What he recommended was a complete change in the organization of the manufacturing process.  Instead of producing the orthotics departmentally and in batches, Woodham recommended creating flow cells in which a small team works together to complete products in one continuous operation.

Because a pair of orthotics could be made by the same group of workers in a continuous process, quality issues could be identified and addressed immediately. Having fewer products in process reduced the potential for mix-ups. In the new system, most orders were completed and shipped in a single day, besting the old process, which could take a week or more.

“The flow cell creates a better communications path from the beginning to the end,” explained Woodham.  “It’s easier to keep up with custom orders because you don’t have a large number of products waiting to be completed.”

For a fast-growing company, switching to manufacturing cells also had an important benefit: production could be ramped up simply by adding cells following the plan Woodham designed.

“The company felt an urgency to get this right before they moved into their new facility,” he explained. “Our work was a matter of understanding their processing steps and developing what would be the best layout for the equipment and the best way for the staff to work together.”

Dr. Hollstrom said the flow cells allowed the company to expand production from approximately 80 sets of orthotics per day to 250 – a more than 200 percent increase.  The improved product quality reduced the number of products returned by the doctors ordering them, and faster turnaround time increased customer satisfaction.

The improvements also caught the attention of a company that sells footwear for people who have diabetes. That customer has already sent some business to the company, and is discussing the possibility of expanding its orders. If that happens, OrthoCare’s sales could again grow dramatically, putting as many as 25 more people to work.

Dr. Hollstrom believes that growth can be accommodated without changing the processes Woodham established. He’ll just add more workers and cells.

Not surprisingly, he is pleased with the work done by Georgia Tech and Derek Woodham.

“We added more than a million dollars worth of business to the company as a result of Derek’s work,” Dr. Hollstrom said. “Derek always told me what I needed to know, even though I didn’t always want to hear it.  For instance, I thought batching was better than the cell process, but he timed it and convinced me otherwise.  What we are doing right now works very well.”

About GaMEP: The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and is a member of the national MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The GaMEP, with offices in nine regions across the state, has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960.  With a broad range of industrial expertise, the GaMEP helps manufacturing companies across Georgia grow and stay competitive.  It offers a solution-based approach through technical assistance, coaching, education, and connections to Georgia Tech, industry and state resources designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost.

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia  30308  USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986)(ude.hcetagnull@nootj).

Writer: John Toon

Hoshizaki Boosts Productivity and Cuts Costs with Continuous Improvement System

Studying processes at Hoshizaki

PEACHTREE CITY – The Peachtree City, Ga. facility of Hoshizaki America — a manufacturer of commercial ice makers, dispensers, refrigerators and related products — recently cut its costs by more than $7 million and increased productivity by 75 percent through implementation of a continuous improvement system.

Studying processes at Hoshizaki

Derek Woodham (right), Georgia Tech’s west Georgia regional manager, confers with Hoshizaki’s Jim Quo (left) and Kevin Sanders at the company’s facility in Peachtree City.

The impressive results, produced with assistance from Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), came about after the company had labored for a number of years to sustain a continuous improvement system. These earlier improvement efforts had focused on large projects using a team-based approach, which highlighted both the existence of activities that didn’t add value and the invisible walls between departments. For competitive reasons, the company felt the need for improvement was critical.

In 2007, Derek Woodham and Larry Alford, Georgia Tech lean specialists, conducted a lean assessment of the company’s operations.

“When the results came back from the lean audit, we began questioning our business,” said Jeff Tatum, Hoshizaki’s director of manufacturing improvements. “Our CEO decided to implement the lean approach, and each person in a leadership role was required to complete lean reading material. This helped our leadership team fully understand the difference between value-added and non-value-added work.”

In-house lean simulation training class for executives and other key personnel added to this foundation. By the end of the courses, Hoshizaki staff had mapped current and future value streams, identified appropriate techniques for improvement, developed a lean strategy and planned the application of specific lean techniques.

Woodham then proposed a series of kaizen events. Kaizen, or rapid improvement, focuses on a particular process or activity that identifies and quickly removes waste. Tatum and other members of the leadership team decided to focus their efforts on four product lines in the plant.

“The results of the kaizen events were so remarkable that a Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) was established to implement lean across the organization,” Tatum said.  “It really became the lean training center and the change agent for the organization.”

Hoshizaki also began implementing 5S in each manufacturing area. 5S (sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing, and sustaining) is a method for organizing the workplace. The “sort” phase led to the establishment of a red tag system for sorting unused items from each work area. Visual control aids were made available to each area during the “set” phase, and time was allocated for cleaning and inspection during the “shine” phase.

In 2009, Hoshizaki began to see double-digit productivity improvements that company officials expect to see continue.

“Georgia Tech training allowed each of the KPO members to understand the use and implementation method of the lean tools,” said Jim Procuro, senior vice president of manufacturing at Hoshizaki. “By using employee ideas to identify and eliminate waste, we have been able to establish a successful continuous improvement system.”

Tatum noted that more than 2,700 employee ideas were submitted last year and 43 percent of the suggestions were implemented. He expects that number to increase as Hoshizaki employees become more engaged and kaizen becomes a way of life.

Hoshizaki America was also the first company to join the Georgia Tech Lean Consortium, a forum for organizations to advance their knowledge and effective use of lean principles. According to Tatum, the monthly events have allowed companies to share and learn from each other and helped tremendously with Hoshizaki’s benchmarking.

“The learning tours have been fantastic and the Georgia Tech training — whether it’s a value stream mapping event or a lean boot camp — has been very useful in helping our employees understand the tools and applications,” Tatum explained. “But there’s a lot of activity with Consortium members that takes place outside of Georgia Tech. It’s turned into a natural support function for continuing to learn.”

Both Tatum and Procuro attribute Hoshizaki’s success to support from the CEO and his executive team for the lean initiative and for the flexibility to adjust goals and measures as the project developed. Tatum noted that while other companies were worried about jobs and survival last year, Hoshizaki was able to give bonuses to its employees.

“Something like that encourages the employees to push that much harder, because they know the honesty and integrity are there on the part of the leadership team,” he said. “Now lean is internalized and is just part of our own way of doing things in every project we do now. We are thankful that Georgia Tech continues to be there to support our journey.”

About GaMEP: The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and is a member of the national MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The GaMEP, with offices in nine regions across the state, has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960.  With a broad range of industrial expertise, the GaMEP helps manufacturing companies across Georgia grow and stay competitive.  It offers a solution-based approach through technical assistance, coaching, education, and connections to Georgia Tech, industry and state resources designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost.

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia  30308  USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986)(ude.hcetagnull@nootj).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

Next Generation Manufacturing Event Spotlights Georgia Manufacturing Renaissance

Targeted innovation and growth can lead to a manufacturing renaissance in the state of Georgia – that was the message delivered to a sold-out industry-focused conference at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently.

Industry speakers at the Next Generation Manufacturing event, held Oct. 18 at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Conference Center, told attendees that manufacturing is thriving in Georgia and that the right strategies will continue to lead to growth in jobs, revenues and the state’s economic base. Among the companies leading the discussion were KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Lockheed Martin Corp., Shaw Industries Group Inc. and TOTO USA Inc.

“This conference brought together a strong mix of state manufacturing companies, industry-leading speakers, and local and national trade resources,” said Chris Downing, director of the Industry Services Division of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, which helped organize the event. “The paramount focus was on educating state manufacturers about the many resources available to them – and also the real-world benefits of taking advantage of these resources.”

The event’s speakers shared their Georgia growth stories with more than 250 attendees. Speakers included Lockheed Martin Corp’s Michael Joyce, senior vice president of operations and programs; TOTO USA’s Bill Strang, senior vice president of operations; Vance Bell, CEO of Shaw Industries, and Randy Jackson, vice president of human resources and administration for KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia.

“Kia is very well positioned as we move into the next generation of manufacturing because of the lessons of continuous improvement and the one-system, one-team approach we teach through the Kia Way,” Jackson said. “As we move forward, we’re always looking to make tomorrow even better than today.”

Georgia Tech provided attendees with tours of three premier research centers: the Manufacturing Research Center (MaRC), the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) and the Food Processing Technology Division Center. Attendees were able to view first-hand many of the advanced manufacturing technologies and methodologies that Georgia Tech makes available to the state’s companies.

“Georgia has had a strong manufacturing presence for many decades,” said Downing, a mechanical engineer who leads an assistance program for companies throughout the state. “The conference helped attendees better understand how cutting-edge technologies and techniques are working for some of our most successful corporations, and how that knowledge can be applied to manufacturing enterprises across Georgia.”

Writer: Rick Robinson

Gov. Deal’s Competitiveness Initiative Should Build on Past Efforts

Once again, the Atlanta region and the State of Georgia are seeking ways to improve the state’s competitive edge. For more than a decade, economic development leaders have been trying to figure out what industries Georgia should target to strengthen the state’s economy. The latest version of this endeavor is Gov. Nathan Deal’s Competitiveness Initiative. . .On Monday, July 18, Deal’s Georgia Competitiveness Initiative Summit was to focus on the metro Atlanta economy. In addition to Cummiskey and Clark, Tad Leithead, chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission, was listed as “special guests.” The featured speakers: Bud Peterson, president of Georgia Tech; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Donna Hyland, CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Larry Callahan, CEO of Patillo Construction Co and chairman of the Regional Business Coalition; Bob Drewel, executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council and founder of the Prosperity Partnership.

http://saportareport.com/blog/2011/07/gov-deals-competitiveness-initiative-should-build-on-past-studies-and-include-all-metro-players/

Athens Brewery Taps into Georgia Tech Assistance to Expand Business

Rob Ginn, a strategic business manager with Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute, discusses the state of Terrapin Beer Co. with John Cochran, founder and president.

Rob Ginn, a strategic business manager with Georgia Tech

When Brian “Spike” Buckowski and John Cochran graduated from college, they had more experience in drinking beer than in running a brewery. Still, their disparate paths of corporate video communications and risk management insurance led them to work at the same place: Atlanta Brewing Company. Although they were working in different parts of the company, they had a dream of one day building their own brewery.

In 1998, after eight months of hammering out a business plan, Cochran and Buckowski began seeking funding for their dream brewery – Terrapin Beer Co. Although the craft beer movement really kicked off on the west coast in the early ‘90s, microbreweries in Georgia and the southeast were pretty much non-existent at that time.

After finally deciding to use an Atlanta contract brewer to get their product out into the market, Cochran and Buckowski debuted their Rye Pale Ale at the Athens Beer Festival. Six months later, that same beer won best pale ale in the country in 2002 at the Great American Beer Festival. In 2004, Terrapin’s second beer, the Golden Ale, won a silver medal in the World Beer Cup, which led to the company’s unofficial motto of “Two Years, Two Beers, Two Medals.”

With all of the beer company’s success, the two business partners had built the brand to a point where they could attract investors. In 2006, they were finally able to open their brewery in Athens. As the business grew, Buckowski and Cochran favored investing in the brand’s rapid growth but experienced philosophical differences with their investment group. It was around this time that Rob Ginn, a strategic business manager with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), made a cold call on the company and dropped off a business card.

Ginn, who describes his job as “CEO mentoring,” assisted Buckowski and Cochran with filling the company’s empty board seat and locating appropriate legal counsel. He also helped them with reviewing and finally closing on an investment contract that allowed the two founders to buy out the original investment group while retaining the equity they had developed in the company. EI2 offers strategic business analysis services for small manufacturers and entrepreneurs, including assistance reviewing business plans and financing options for expansion and growth, planning for succession and family-owned business, structured monthly coaching and process benchmarking and resource connections.

“Spike and John are great clients to work with because they are passionate about their company, and they’ve worked hard to get it where it is. My role in helping these guys was to support the management team while looking for investment alternatives, then help them act quickly when we finally had the deal,” Ginn recalled. “If we had not made the end-of-the-year deadline, then this company probably wouldn’t have been here by September.”

Terrapin Beer Co. remains an independent brewery today after receiving a loan from Miller-owned Tenth and Blake Beer Co. When Terrapin started nine years ago, it produced 165 barrels of beer in its first year; last year, it made 18,000 barrels, equal to $5 million in sales.

Terrapin produces four beers year-round and a number of seasonal selections. The nine-year-old company, which employs 30 people, currently has a $3.2 million capital expansion plan in the works. Ginn will continue to assist as needed with Terrapin’s plans for a new brew house mill and other brewing capacity additions to meet the growing demand for the company’s craft beers.

“The next step for Terrapin is an expansion – I don’t mean geographic markets – we’re going to need a bigger brew house, more tanks, more kegs, more employees. Just growing the company and making more beer for the southeast. Our goal is to be the best brewer in the southeast,” noted Cochran. “People in this country are really getting turned on to better things – better food, better coffee, better cheese – and beer is just another part of that. The sky is the limit as to what this industry is going to do.”

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

 

Enterprise Innovation Institute

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

 

Media Relations Contact:  John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).

 

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

 

Rockefeller Introduces Advanced Manufacturing Bill

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is the latest Washington politician to push “advanced manufacturing” as a national priority. The West Virginia Democrat introduced a bill in Senate July 8 to train workers in new and emerging manufacturing fields… Several universities will be involved in the program, including MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. It also will involve industrial partners, including Caterpillar Inc., Allegheny Technologies and Dow Chemical Co.

http://www.industryweek.com/articles/rockefeller_introduces_advanced_manufacturing_bill_25055.aspx?SectionID=3

Made in Georgia, Again

lexander Hamilton said that “Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufacturers.”

That statement is perhaps even more relevant today than it was 200 years ago. How do we get back to “made in America?” The answer is that the same spirit of innovation and collaboration that once gave us pre-eminence in manufacturing can help us regain our competitiveness, thereby creating jobs, increasing exports and serving as a catalyst for a healthy economy.

In today’s global environment, “made in America” is not enough. We need “invented in America” or, better yet, “invented and manufactured in Georgia.”

Each year, the National Science Board produces a report on Science and Engineering Indicators. The latest report clearly indicates that many countries are making science, engineering and technology a national priority. These fields address important issues, ensure global competitiveness and create new jobs. They also drive world-class innovation, research and development. This requires that we prepare students with the necessary background at all levels: elementary, secondary and post-secondary.

Georgia Tech partners with k-12 schools in a wide variety of programs, ranging from teacher preparation to summer camps for students.

Another key to America’s competitiveness is our ability to move new ideas and innovations quickly from the lab to the manufacturing floor. We can do that through increased cooperation between universities and the public and private sectors.

President Barack Obama recently outlined an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership to do just that. In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal, through the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative, has acted to ensure that the business community and state government develop a long-term economic strategy. Tech will host one of the regional meetings this month.

Georgia Tech is committed to partnering with business, industry and government in Georgia, as well as nationally, to strengthen our economy. We offer a comprehensive array of economic development programs with representatives in 25 locations around the state. We are a national leader among research universities in collaborative research with industry.

Georgia Tech’s support in manufacturing technology spans research, education, and outreach.

A central focus is provided through the Manufacturing Research Center (MARC), an interdisciplinary research center targeting specific industry needs. Research, outreach and transition activities are also supported by the College of Engineering, the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). In many ways, our economic independence is up to us.

Our greatest challenges can be solved through innovation and fostering an entrepreneurial environment, as well as collaboration between industry, education, and government to create a healthy economic environment and an educated workforce.

 

G. P. “Bud” Peterson is president of Georgia Institute of Technology. He was just named to the newly created Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee.

 

 

Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute Wins National Manufacturing Awards

The Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) Group won the Innovator of the Year Award at the national MEP annual conference in Orlando, Fla. Pictured from left to right are: Mike Simpson, NIST MEP; Eric Esoda, Awards Committee Chair; EI2’s Chris Downing, Bob Hitch and Bill Meffert, and Roger Kilmer, MEP director.

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) – a unit of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) – recently won two awards for making significant impacts on U.S. manufacturing. The awards were presented May 17 at the national MEP annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

The Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) Group won the Innovator of the Year Award at the national MEP annual conference in Orlando, Fla. Pictured from left to right are: Mike Simpson, NIST MEP; Eric Esoda, Awards Committee Chair; EI2’s Chris Downing, Bob Hitch and Bill Meffert, and Roger Kilmer, MEP director.

The Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) Group won the Innovator of the Year Award at the national MEP annual conference in Orlando, Fla. Pictured from left to right are: Mike Simpson, NIST MEP; Eric Esoda, Awards Committee Chair; EI2’s Chris Downing, Bob Hitch and Bill Meffert, and Roger Kilmer, MEP director.

EI2’s Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) Group won the Innovator of the Year Award, which recognizes a team that developed modern practices to help reinvent America’s industrial base and to further the MEP system. The ESS group was instrumental in the development of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Strategic Energy Performance program and in leading the development of the new ISO 50001 Standard for Energy Management. The team included Bill Meffert, Matt Soderlund, Robert Hitch, Ed Hardison, Holly Grell-Lawe, Randy Green, Deann Desai, Mike Brown and Jessica Brown.

The Practitioner of the Year award was presented to the Georgia MEP Lean Consortium Team. The Consortium – a forum for organizations to advance their knowledge and effective use of lean principles – leverages the collective knowledge and experience of its members and drives innovation. Lean Consortium staff members included Larry Alford, David Apple, Alan Barfoot, Tara Barrett, Sam Darwin, Danny Duggar, Art Ford, Tim Israel, Bill Nusbaum, Elliot Price, Bill Ritsch, Tom Sammon, Paul Todd and Derek Woodham.

The Georgia MEP Lean Consortium Team won the Practitioner of the Year award at the national MEP conference. Pictured from left to right are: Mike Simpson; Eric Esoda; EI2’s Larry Alford, Derek Woodham, Bill Nusbaum, and Chris Downing; and Roger Kilmer, MEP director.

The Georgia MEP Lean Consortium Team won the Practitioner of the Year award at the national MEP conference. Pictured from left to right are: Mike Simpson; Eric Esoda; EI2’s Larry Alford, Derek Woodham, Bill Nusbaum, and Chris Downing; and Roger Kilmer, MEP director.

“We are very honored to be recognized by the Department of Commerce and NIST for our work with manufacturers throughout the state and nationally,” said Chris Downing, P.E., director of Georgia MEP. “These awards reflect the positive impact our Georgia Tech outreach engineers have on the manufacturing sector in Georgia and beyond.”

In addition, EI2 client Power Partners, an Athens-based manufacturer of overhead distribution transformers, was awarded MEP’s Excellence in Sustainability award. That recognition celebrates manufacturers whose outstanding development and implementation of green and sustainable practices has contributed significantly to their business excellence, workplace and their community. Power Partners expanded its product line to manufacture solar water heater systems, which capture energy from the sun to heat water and can provide up to 85 percent of the energy needed to produce domestic hot water.

MEP – part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology – is a national network of 59 not-for-profit centers that helps U.S. manufacturers compete globally by strengthening supply chains and increasing productivity. With a team of more than 30 engineers and other professionals, Georgia MEP provides technical assistance and continuing education to improve industrial competitiveness in areas such as lean process improvement, quality and international standards, energy efficiency and management, environmental improvement and management, sustainable strategy deployment and growth services.

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

 

Enterprise Innovation Institute

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

 

Media Relations Contact: E-mail: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).

 

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

 

Dalton Manufacturing Summit Draws National Attention

The manufacturing summit that will be held in Dalton Thursday has attracted not only some of the nation’s top business leaders but some of the top political leaders from Georgia and Tennessee. . . .T. Boone Pickens, a Texas billionaire known for his expertise on energy affairs, will discuss the state of manufacturing in the United States.  . . .Education will have a prominent place on the summit’s agenda as well. Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson will discuss the importance of education in manufacturing.

http://daltondailycitizen.com/local/x616690437/Dalton-manufacturing-summit-draws-national-attention

Central Georgia Companies and Organizations Partner to Implement Lean Projects

Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) has launched an initiative in central Georgia to help smaller manufacturers implement lean principles, a set of tools widely used in manufacturing to help identify and steadily eliminate waste from an organization’s operations. So far, four manufacturers, a hospital and a non-profit charitable organization are enrolled in the Group Lean Implementation Project, also known as GLIP.

“GLIP is a good way for smaller organizations to pool their resources and learn from each other,” said Paul Todd, a lean specialist with EI2. “Manufacturers and non-manufacturers alike can learn how to eliminate non-value added activities and at the same time find out what works for them in their continuous improvement process.”

The following organizations are participating in GLIP:

  • Advanced Metal Components in Swainsboro,
  • Duramatic in Glennville,
  • Easter Seals of Middle Georgia in Dublin,
  • Hollingsworth & Vose in Hawkinsville,
  • Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia and
  • SP Newsprint in Dublin.

As part of the new initiative, EI2 lean specialists Todd and Danny Duggar have led lean overviews, assessed where each organization is in its lean journey, and developed value stream maps, which are diagrams used to analyze the flow of materials and information required to bring a product or service to a consumer.

As part of GLIP, group members rotate hosting events at their facilities, working on specific projects and discussing challenges and successes to date. Already, the team has conducted projects in single-minute exchange of die (SMED) techniques, which shorten the changeover time to reduce production lot sizes and improve flow. The team also applied 5S – a method for organizing the workplace – that stands for sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing and sustaining.

Not only do participating companies benefit from the lean implementations, but they can also take advantage of the Georgia Retraining Tax Credit, in which a company’s direct investment in training can be claimed as a tax credit. Training programs must be approved by the Technical College System of Georgia, and the tax credit can be used to offset up to 50 percent of a company’s state corporate income tax liability. To be eligible, the retraining program must be for quality and productivity enhancements or certain software technologies.

“By utilizing Georgia Tech assistance, we get ideas from professionals who are very well trained and adept in what they’re doing. The other group members bring fresh ideas from organizations with different cultures, backgrounds and types of work that we can take and apply to our companies,” said Daniel Smith, industrial engineering manager for Duramatic Products. “It gives all of us a chance to get out of our comfort zones and see how other companies manufacture so we can use it as a benchmark to improve what we do.”

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

 

Research News & Publications Office

Enterprise Innovation Institute

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

 

Media Relations Contact: E-mail: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).

 

Writer: Nancy Fullbright