A.G. Russell’s Continuous Improvement Transformation Yields $7M in Increased Sales and $1.4M in Cost Savings
“Partnering with CONNSTEP has been extremely beneficial to AG Russell. From the initial leadership education to the rollout to our entire organization, we have seen amazing gains in our total organization’s engagement, goal attaining and results.”
– Jason Ensminger, Continuous Improvement and Plant Manager, The Arthur G. Russell Co., Inc.
Founded in 1945, The Arthur G. Russell Co., Inc. (AGR) located in Bristol, Connecticut, began as an engineering and research and development firm and has evolved into a world renowned designer and builder of custom assembly machinery. Privately-held, this company employs more than 140 employees and has developed proprietary automation components, cam-driven pick and place units, grippers, escapements and rotary and linear actuators. AGR’s ability to feed and handle parts at high speeds has led to specialization in the ultra, high-volume medical device and consumer products industries. The company also focuses on a continued application of more sophisticated controls, servo systems, sensors and inspection equipment to meet increasing customer demands for higher speeds and unprecedented reliability.
In order to compete more effectively, AGR sought to reap the benefits of creating a culture of Continuous Improvement within its manufacturing organization. Recognizing that this transformation into an innovative, lean-thinking entity, would require enterprise-wide engagement, AGR’s leadership team partnered with CONNSTEP, Inc. to provide the training, tools and framework necessary in driving the process from within.
Additionally, AGR’s strategic objective was to improve overall customer satisfaction, which included a special focus on product lead time reduction and compliance with customer commitment dates. They also cited the need to reduce inventory and standardize employee performance on any given job.
CONNSTEP established an ongoing transformative relationship with AG Russell, educated the company’s leadership via the Continuous Improvement Champion Certification course and, subsequently, developed roll-out and sustainable continuous improvement plans for total organization involvement and workforce development.
This was achieved by CONNSTEP through the execution of the following services:
- Workforce (TWI)
- Continuous Improvement
Specific to these services, CONNSTEP-based projects included:
- Super State Map, Vision Statement and Strategy Map
- Current and Future State Value Stream Maps
- Draft Deployment Plan including prioritized Kaizen events
- Training and Communication Plans
- Lean Awareness Training Workshops
- Team based Process Improvements (Kaizen) with outputs that include metrics, a Kaizen Newspaper and a management Report-Out
- Continuous Improvement Champions Certificate course
- Training Within Industry (TWI) workshop
Targeted areas during the 5S rollout were projects focused on reorganizing AGR’s machine shop based on a new floor plan, removal and disposal of unused equipment and the implementation of an ongoing GROW (Get Rid of Waste) program. Additionally, weekly, Lean-themed team collaboration sessions were introduced, engineering information carts were assembled and placed throughout the facility floor to empower employees to access information on their own which led to reductions in wait times and impacts to production schedules. These efforts have contributed to increased employee engagement and acceptance of a new Lean
culture throughout AGR.
Improving information flow throughout the organization is currently on the forefront of the company’s focus including a project focused on connecting software systems to enhance communication among Engineering, Manufacturing, Accounting and Time Management departments.
- Reduced lead times 20%-25%
- Increased sales – $7M
- Retained sales – $8M
- 6 new jobs created
- 10 jobs retained
- Cost savings – $1.4M
To learn more about achieving results like these, simply fill out the form on the right of this page ~>
“CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”
“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”
“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”
“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”
“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”
“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”
“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”
“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating … promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”