Continuous Improvement Project Helps Aesculap Manage Fast Growth
Aesculap Incorporated is a division of the B. Braun family of companies that serves as the United States distributor and repair center for a wide variety of Aesculap surgical equipment. In addition, the facility is home to the company’s fast growing Set World operations. Set World is a nationwide loaner program that allows hospital access to high value instruments and implants for surgical procedures and only pay for what is actually used.
Aesculap’s internal continuous improvement team had created current and future state Value Stream Maps that identified a number of potential opportunities to reduce non-value added activities and support the strong growth that the company was experiencing. The company did not have enough internal resources that were trained and qualified to manage Kaizen events and continuous improvement teams to move forward as rapidly as possible, so Missouri Enterprise, a NIST MEP affiliate, was brought in to help.
Aesculap brought in Missouri Enterprise manufacturing experts to further refine their process maps and to help manage Kaizen events focused on quality at the source processes; employee training; inventory control and reorder controls; and to create standard work instructions in their rapidly growing organization.
In the Kaizen events, the Missouri Enterprise-led teams established quality control standards for the company’s very costly stainless steel product containers, created supporting work instructions, and trained employees to meet these new standards.
The implementation of these standards and work instructions has resulted in a completely new process for picking and shipping product kits, receiving and restocking the returned kits to proper warehouse locations, and accounting for the returns. Finally, the team documented the entire process to improve training of future employees.
- Retained sales of $560,000.
- Revenue increased 10% over the year.
- Investment in workforce practices of $10,000.
“We selected Missouri Enterprise to augment our internal resources because Missouri Enterprise project managers provide hands-on implementation assistance and staff training in a very effective combination. We continue to benefit from their support.”
Phil Draper, Process Improvement Specialist