Hampford Research Embarks on Enterprise-wide Lean Transformation
“Our Lean journey has enabled us to absorb growth and better manage our staffing levels. It’s been a tangible way of thinking with tools we can use. CONNSTEP’s team understands us. They have complete theory knowledge that they transfer to us and assist us in applying the concepts. They continually feed us the next step, know where we should be heading and when we’re ready to take those steps.”
– Kate Hampford Donahue, President & CEO, Hampford Research, Inc.
Located in Stratford, Connecticut, Hampford Research, Inc. is a second-generation owned company and global supplier to Fortune 500 chemical and high-tech customers. They specialize in producing high-purity chemicals for use in the electronics, coatings, personal care, printing/imaging and adhesives markets. They operate in two facilities, which house 20 reactors, filters, dryers and centrifuges.
When Hampford Research, Inc. founder and chemist Jack Hampford passed away, his daughter, Kate Hampford Donahue, took the helm. With a strong business background, she knew she wanted to continue his legacy of running a company that had become a pillar in the local business community and a leader in chemical manufacturing. Although the company was known for delivering stellar customer service for more than 30 years, Donahue realized the company culture needed to shift from the way, “we’ve always done it” to “how can we do it better?”.
Taking a hard look at the plant layout, coupled with the lack of standard operating procedures, Donahue knew it was time to reassess the company’s overall efficiency potential.
Hampford entered into a period of growth and had been selected as a choice supplier for a large order to a top customer. Knowing they would be increasing production, they began ramping up by adding seven new employees to their staff. However, it was apparent they were not working as efficiently as they could be.
Thanks to recommendations from an existing CONNSTEP client, Dymax Corporation, and the New Haven Manufacturers Association, Kate contacted CONNSTEP to learn more about building the value of Hampford Research and creating a more sustainable organization.
Hampford Research, Inc. partnered with CONNSTEP, Inc. and embarked on an enterprise-wide Lean Transformation. To date, the company has completed 12 sub-projects. These include:
- PROBE Benchmark Assessment
- Organizational Readiness Assessment
- Voice of the Customer Survey
- Strategic Planning Workshop
- Value Stream Mapping
- Off-site Continuous Improvement Champion Certification (CICC) Training
- Lean Awareness Training
- Kaizen Events With Training and Mentoring
- Coaching of Continuous Improvement Steering Committee
- 5S & Visual Management
- Root Cause and Corrective Action Training Workshop
- Continuous Improvement Champion Certificate program
Targeted areas to streamline using continuous improvement included maintenance projects with goals set to improve costs, and planning to reduce time and travel/steps. Work flow projects, which aligned with Hampford Research’s strategic goals of growing sales and profitability, focused on improving on-time delivery (OTD), throughput, efficiency and reducing lead times.
Improvement of workflow through VTD-4 project yielded:
- Reduced processing time – 7%
- Reduced lead time – 39%
- Reduced travel distance – 36%
Resale Material Conversion project yielded:
- Reduced travel time – 95%
- Reduced touch time – 66%
- Reduced COPs produced – 70%
Boiler Maintenance project yielded:
- Improved value-added steps 43%
- Improved active time 72%
- Reduced lead time – 43%
Donahue established a Lean Steering Committee within Hampford Research, which is now guided by CICC alumni.
Collectively, these efforts have contributed to increased employee engagement and the acceptance of a new Lean culture throughout Hampford Research, Inc.
- Reduced travel time by 262,000 steps/175 hours per year
- Reduced lead time on a product line by 22 days
- Reduced touch time by 27,000 minutes/440 hours per year
- Reduced travel and touch time by 15 ½ weeks per year
- Reduced paperwork processing by 1,700 minutes/28 hours per year
- Reduced product conversion time by 28 hours per year
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