Lean Increases Sales and Revenues for Medical Manufacturer
– John Killeen, Vice President, Alden Tool Co., Inc.
With over 60 years of business under their belt, Alden Tool Company is a specialty tooling manufacturer, focused on producing surgical cutting tools for the medical industry. The medical industry makes up about 90% of their business, but they also produce small precision parts for machinery builders. Alden Tool had previously been involved in many different industries, including screw machines, specialty cutting, and commercial production before settling into mostly medical manufacturing. Alden Tool is privately owned and headquartered in Berlin, CT. They also employ approx. 25 employees. Notably, Alden Tool was the first company in the United States to make a tool that helped pioneer the development of CPM products.
During initial meetings with Alden Tool’s President Chuck Muravnick and Vice President John Killeen, CONNSTEP uncovered some opportunities to improve their order entry to production process, resource constraints, and lead times. At the time, incoming job orders were taking too long to reach the floor. The production line was experiencing bottlenecks in the rotary cutting tool process. Because of the bottlenecks, which included the order entry process, lead times began to extend. Additionally, too much inventory on the shop floor caused process flow interruptions, which also contributed to longer lead times. In addition, the engineering team (which worked on developing the process for tools) was experiencing redundancy on jobs that were from repeat customers, and required no changes. They were also responsible for other non-engineering clerical activities, which took too much of their time and disrupted their output.
CONNSTEP introduced several Lean techniques that improved overall process flow, including order entry, which reduced the engineering time and increase the rate of jobs to the production floor. CONNSTEP also, and created efficiencies by lowering lead times, reducing work in process, and increasing capacity. We eliminated the extra work for the engineering team by cross training additional staff members. This reduced process times by two hours a day, which improved lead times significantly. John Killeen spoke to the experience, noting “employee attitude was positive and open” during the transformation.
To combat delays between order entry and job processing, visuals were put in place to communicate when jobs were ready to hit the production lines, and other aspects of the job status. Revenues immediately began improving as well, with an improved master production schedule and decreasing lot sizes to meet demand. As a result of all the improvements made at Alden Tool, they continue to be a leading competitor in their industry and have been able to invest back into the company to continue growing the business.
- Increased sales by 7 percent, or $250,000
- Reduced process times by two hours a day
- Created 13 jobs
- New Investment of $97,000
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.”