Kentucky Manufacturing Assistance Center
ASMC Member Providing Hands-On Help through the Kentucky Manufacturing Assistance Center
Headquartered in Florence, Kentucky, Sweco, Inc., is the world leader in particle-separation and size reduction solutions. The Florence headquarters employs 125 people. Renowned for their original designs and advanced technologies, Sweco solid and fluid separation products are in demand throughout such industries as: chemical, food and beverage, powder coating, pharmaceutical, plastic, pulp and paper, ceramic, and laundry. In addition to their manufacturing facility in Florence, Sweco also maintains facilities in Macon, Georgia; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Belgium; and Singapore. They also are involved in a joint-venture in Mexico and have a licensee in Australia, plus have more than 100 service offices around the world.
Sweco, seeking a strategic competitive advantage, began implementing the continuous improvement principles of Lean Manufacturing at their Florence facility to help reduce cycle time, improve customer response time, and to more effectively control costs. The results, while marked with some successes, were less than hoped for and led to Sweco management opening discussions with the Kentucky Manufacturing Assistance Center (KMAC), a NIST MEP network affiliate, on how to improve their approach and methods. During this time, however, Sweco turned to more pressing matters as a result of a change in ownership. After a period of time, Sweco re-focused on their operational objectives and re-opened discussions with KMAC for help in strengthening their continuous improvement program.
KMAC implemented a comprehensive project based on various Lean Manufacturing methods to help Sweco reach their operational and strategic objectives. In addition to hands-on implementation assistance, classroom training was incorporated throughout the effort. The project involved three phases, with Phase One including planning, scheduling, team selections, metric development, and reporting structure. Phase Two was a Value Stream Mapping exercise to detail and capture their current state. Phase Three included a heavy schedule of training on: Lean basics, root cause analysis, team building, 5S/visual controls, Kaizen, and Kanban. The year-plus project was structured to provide Sweco personnel with the tools and abilities to implement ongoing continuous improvement principles across their organization.
- Increased sales of $1 million.
- Retained sales of $100,000.
- Created/retained five jobs.
- Costs savings of $125,000.
- Reduced lead time, work-in-process, and defect rate.
- Improved understanding of customers, markets, and competitors.
- Increased market share and entry into new markets.
- Improved business and strategic planning.
- Improved profit margin/Increased revenue or cash flow.
- Improved employee skills and work environment, plus reduced turnover.
- Avoided unnecessary investments of $50,000.
“With our demand growth, we needed to find ways to reduce our lead times, maintain our quality, and increase our productivity without adding costs. KMAC’s knowledge and expertise in teaching and implementing various Lean methodologies is helping us achieve those goals. They’ve also done an excellent job of helping us get buy-in throughout our operations. We’re very satisfied with KMAC and will continue to look to them for support in the future.”
Dave Sorter, Mgr., Manufacturing Engineering