Dymax Goes Lean to Support Growth

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Background: A Customer-Centric,
Global Manufacturer

Dymax manufacturers advanced light-curable adhesives, coatings, oligomers, light-curing equipment, and fluid dispense systems. Founded in 1980 as the American Chemical and Engineering Company, Dymax now has over 250 employees and 30 plants world-wide. The Torrington, CT location serves as corporate headquarters with overseas locations in Germany, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Dymax prides themselves in making their customers more efficient, serving industries including medical, electronics, optical, aerospace, automotive, appliance, metal finishing, and alternative energy. Dymax ensures that client needs are met every step, working closely with them from conception through testing and development. This customer-centric mentality has fueled immense client growth, and Dymax has been featured multiple times by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing private companies.

Situation: Rapid Growth Strained Capacity

Rapid growth poses considerable challenges. Skyrocketing sales can strain capacity, requiring equipment investments and footprint expansion. “We assumed our initiatives and practices were bulletproof but it became apparent some of our processes were not conducive for sustainable growth. A perfect example is the addition of more than 50 employees …, a 74% increase of our workforce. Continuing to plug 50 people into areas in an effort to meet growth demands was not a sustainable business model,” says Lance Boynton, Director of Operations. “Our processes needed adjustment for us to maintain our growth, continuously improve quality and stay competitive.”

Previous Lean initiatives had yielded little to no success. Management decided it was time to transform into a Lean enterprise to maintain their growth rate and efficiently boost capacity.  “Our level of Lean awareness, on a scale of 1 to 10, could have been in the negative numbers. As a whole, we didn’t understand the concept and couldn’t sustain the concept. We had some 6S in place but that was it,” explains John Stonesifer, Equipment Operations Manager.

CONNSTEP facilitated a best practices and benchmarking visit for Dymax leadership to tour Dur-A-Flex, a manufacturer of flooring systems in East Hartford, Connecticut that successfully implemented enterprise wide lean principles. Wayne Pegolo, Adhesive Operations Manager at Dymax, recalls, “It was an eye opener. We saw firsthand that education was the key to this transformation succeeding.”

Solution: Deploy Lean Across the Enterprise

Dymax established a steering committee to manage the process. They joined 11 members of the leadership team in CONNSTEP’s Continuous Improvement Champion Certification training to learn Lean thinking and tools in order to lead the transformation.

The company newsletter was expanded to include monthly coverage of Lean and its role in transforming the workplace. CONNSTEP continued to meet with the steering committee on a regular basis to support their Lean transformation. Reflecting on Dymax’s commitment to change, John McCarroll of CONNSTEP explains, “Dymax has learned to walk faster than any company I have worked with because they focused so much on the training upfront.” Since their initial efforts, Dymax has seen a shift in Lean awareness among all staff, not just operational employees as expected. Front office operations improved dramatically using Kaizen training.

Every aspect of the business was examined with a new Lean viewpoint. Boynton, Director of Operations, says, “We are looking at things differently now. Taking a look at inventory turns, on-time delivery, quality, first pass yield – all things we always paid attention to – but we now understand what is needed to improve those metrics…(and) take corrective action by implementing or adjusting a process.” Dymax also plans to continue their Lean journey overseas at their foreign plants by passing along knowledge gained through working with CONNSTEP.

Results:

  • near perfect on-time delivery rate of 99%
  • cost savings of $30,000 in one quarter
  • 80% reduction of overtime costs
  • increased capacity 29% without adjusting labor hours

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