Since being acquired in 2000, Impress’s Terminal Island location was faced with competitive pressures from other U.S. plant locations as well as foreign competition. They had to reduce operating costs, reduce scrap and increase margins or be faced with being relocated or shut down.
In May 2005 Impress USA contacted CMTC to assist them with the development of a 5S Lean Manufacturing training program which focused on creating effective work place organization and standard work procedures so their employees would have practical working knowledge of these principles and techniques. The goals of the program were to train the employees so they could work in cross functional teams as well as provide a working knowledge and understanding of “value added” versus “non-value added” activities and processes.
From September 2005 through April 2006, the Impress USA management team and CMTC consultants conducted hands on training for six different groups. The individual cross functional teams worked on various departments and processes within the plant, learning and applying 5S Lean Manufacturing principles and techniques. Many employees had never worked on cross functional teams and found the experience informative and rewarding.
Projects conducted by the six teams resulted in better utilization of floor space, increased employee safety, reduction in scrap materials, organized and clean work areas and standardized work instruction for processes. The plant also experienced an increase in productivity and lower finished goods inventories. These improvements elevated the plant from being one of the lower performing plants within Impress USA, Inc. to number 2 in the system. Impress realized $200,000 in annual cost savings as a result of the productivity and scrap improvements made in the plant. This is in addition to continuous improvement skills gained by the team members who worked on the different projects.