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Successful Implementations in Lean

Positive Impacts Are Part of the Package at P J Noyes

By Karen Myhaver, Outreach Specialist, MassMEP

Training has allowed P J Noyes employee teams to conduct Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen events, giving them the tools they need to keep their Lean transition moving throughout the facility. 

When customers began saying they were unwilling to absorb any more price increases for P J Noyes products and services, the company realized they had to become more efficient and keep their costs down or risk losing business. Though P J Noyes already used the concept of self-directed work teams, Vice President, Dennis Wogaman felt that Lean could help them re-energize with new tools to better utilize their human capital and improve production capacity. Dennis had attended a Principles of Lean event put on by the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP) and had also met with NH MEP project manager Jane T. Ely and chose her organization to provide the assistance his company needed.

Doubling Output Per Shift
In the Liquids Packaging area of the company, they were having trouble with scheduling due to increased demand. There was a strong impression that the machines were capable of much higher output but that many of the eight wastes were present preventing the team from achieving more. So NH MEP worked with a cross-functional team of PJ Noyes associates on a Value Stream Mapping (VSM) event. 

The team analyzed the Liquid Packaging process and was able to pinpoint areas of concern. At the time, Line #2 was scheduled for 6,900 units per shift. The team set a goal to double the output to 13,800 units per shift. The Value Stream Map showed where Kaizen events could reduce waste. Even before the Kaizens were conducted, the Liquid Packaging team had achieved 15,100 units of output just from the critical knowledge and skills they gained from value stream mapping. A 5S Kaizen, a process of sorting, setting in order, shining (cleaning), standardizing, and sustaining was done to help clean and organize the Liquids Packaging area. Then a Quick Change-Over (QCO) Kaizen was conducted and the change over process on the machine was videotaped and analyzed. This allowed the team to see where waste happened.

Using their new-found knowledge, they wrote a formal changeover procedure that balanced the work among all team members and established when a task required two people versus one. Consequently, change-over time on Line #1 was also reduced.

Sales increase Over $400,000
By Value Stream Mapping the Liquids Packaging process, the team was able to identify problems that were impacting production. 5s was used to clean up and organize the area, substantially decreasing wasted time. Videotaping change-over showed the value of implementing POUS (point of use storage) -- putting tools and materials near where they are used and utilizing more visual signals for employees for work instruction and to assist with replenishment (Kanban).

Production in Liquids Packaging has doubled as a result of these improvements. They are keeping up with the demand and increasing capacity to meet new challenges. They have been able to keep their existing customers happy as they add new ones. In the past year, Sales have increased by over $400,000.Training employee teams to conduct VSM and Kaizen events has given P J Noyes the tools they need to keep their Lean transition moving throughout the facility. 

"The NH MEP and Jane (Jane T. Ely) brought focus and facilitation to the (Lean) process," stated Dennis Wogaman, Vice President, P J Noyes. "We were able to get a lot accomplished during our sessions because Jane kept things moving and prevented us from getting bogged down with side issues. I am frustrated because recently we have hired several new employees to help keep up with demand and it has meant that our focus has been elsewhere. I know we will get back to our projects because the work has been enjoyable. Not only has it given us great results but it has provided a lot of laughter along the way. My personal fulfillment was watching people become believers in what they can do by setting lofty goals and achieving them." 

Company Profile
For more than a hundred years, P J Noyes has been in the business of manufacturing and packaging at their facility in New Hampshire's White Mountains. Their manufacturing capabilities include over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements, personal care products, lotions, creams, soaps, topical ointments, compressed tablets, lozenges, food and beverage flavorings, and other chemical specialties. Products are manufactured in their modern FDA inspected and compliant, EPA and ATF registered facility. For packaging options, they offer flexible plastic and laminate tubes, rigid plastic tubes, flexible foil pouches, bottles jars and automated cartoning. The company was named for its founder Parker J. Noyes and employs approximately 130 people at the Lancaster location.

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