Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership
ASMC Member Providing Hands-On Help through the Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Valley Glass is a full service glass company with locations in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho. Started in 1956, the Ogden, Utah, facility employs 30 people who manufacture and distribute their own line of custom vinyl windows and are distributors for a line of high-end wood windows. Their windows are installed in new residential and commercial construction as well as retrofit replacement windows in existing construction. They also distribute and install auto glass.
In 2003 Valley Glass added a number of new dealers to their distribution network. They also added some new product lines. This created additional demand for their products but it in turn added additional complexities to their internal systems. They found themselves having difficulty keeping up with customer demand. Lead times stretched out, delivery commitments were missed, and the quality of their windows, and customer service started to suffer. As a result, two long time dealers stopped selling their windows resulting in a big sales decline. Feeling some pain, Marc and his plant foreman began actively looking for ways improve operational efficiencies. They wanted to increase output, improve quality, and shorten lead times. Eventually they were introduced to the Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP Utah) at a workshop on Lean Manufacturing.
Working with MEP Utah, Valley Glass sent a core team of employees from their window manufacturing plant to a Lean 101 workshop. The Lean 101 training was followed up with onsite training in Value Stream Mapping and 5S. All training was delivered by MEP field engineers. The objectives for the training were to eliminate production bottlenecks, improve product flow, and to clean and organize the plant.
- Increased production by 40 percent.
- Improved organization and cleanliness of work areas.
- Increased quality significantly.
- Improved throughput. * Reduced rework.
- Improved relationship with customers.
- Eliminated work in progress valued at $125,000.
“Working with the MEP has been great. Any business that has not implemented Lean and 5S should just do it. But, they need to be patient. The MEP helped us understand that improvement takes time. They did a good job of setting our expectations and helping us identify the “low hanging fruit.” We know that going forward, the projects will be more challenging. But, we now understand and are fully committed to the principle of continuous improvement. We look forward to working with MEP again in the future.”
Marc Naylor, President