Custom Urethane Improves Productivity and Profit
Location: Osceola, WI
Years in Business: Founded 1989
No. of Employees: 20 full-time
Products: casts a variety of plastic parts based on customer designs
NWMOC Projects: Flow Manufacturing Principles
Custom Urethane was growing slowly, experiencing cash flow problems, and found itself in a position where they were unable to compete in their markets and make a profit. Familiar with the Northwest Wisconsin Outreach Center (NWMOC) because of their work with another company, Dennis Johnson, President of Custom Urethane contacted the Center for more information on their Flow Manufacturing program.
NWMOC staff members helped Custom Urethane implement flow manufacturing principles in its production system. Flow manufacturing training was provided to all employees. After this training was completed, NWMOC staff facilitated a five-day implementation program that involved employees in applying flow principles and redesigning their workplace. Processes were flow charted and analyzed. Managers and employees were encouraged to move from a craftsman approach to production to a flow manufacturing system. Changes in manufacturing processes and new production line layouts were studied by employee teams. The result was a new plant layout and the addition of a conveyor to move the molds more efficiently. Also, NWMOC staff facilitated the implementation of a Kanban system in the plant. These changes improved worker productivity, materials flow, and oven utilization.
“ Our work with NWMOC is the perfect illustration of the old saying, 'Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you have fed him forever.' The NWMOC staff didn't just prescribe some fixes for the problems we were experiencing, they led us through a process that forced us to identify our problems and figure out our own solutions to these problems. Once we learned the process, we now use it frequently to solve productivity, profitability, and plant layout problems. ”
~ Dennis C. Johnson, President