RECAP: Lean Leaders Meeting at Admiral Packaging
The New England Lean Consortium kicked of the New Year with a most successful Lean Leaders meeting at Admiral Packaging in Providence, RI, on January 29th. The meeting attracted thirty four attendees and was one of the largest Lean Leader meetings of the NELC. Fortunately, Admiral Packaging had just created some space through the sale of part of its company, which allowed them to create a very large training/conference room.
Admiral Packaging, Inc. is a flexible packaging provider. They print, laminate, and convert products into rolls of film and pouches for various customers in food, medical and industrial markets. They provide solutions based on their customers unique needs through our knowledge and experience in designing films. They also work with customers on their packaging's’ graphics with an experienced in-house design team.
Harley Frank, President, is the fourth generation of the Frank family, has continued to guide and grow the company though the turn of the century. In 2005, the company changed its name from Union Industries to Admiral Packaging, Inc. to more accurately reflect its commitment to flexible packaging. ” Through the implementation of LEAN manufacturing principles, Admiral Packaging has reduced its manufacturing square footage and converted the extra space to commercial offices.
LEAN thinking has allowed Admiral Packaging to remain competitive through process efficiencies and lead time reductions in a low volume high mix environment (for a B2B company).
During the extensive plant tour we saw the results and benefits of Admiral’s Lean Program:
• Point of use material consumption • Kanban Supermarkets • Focus on internal customers • Examples of Kata coaching and problem solving • Production in a food safe environment • Use of BI tools to enhance understanding in the workplace.
For more information, you can visit the company website: www.admiralpkg.com
The company presentation was given by Arron Carroll, Manager of Technical Services and Continuous Improvement. Among the many Lean practices that Arron shared with the attendees, was the extensive use of Business Intelligence Tools throughout the manufacturing areas. There are three phases of their BI Tools:
• Use of Microsoft Office Tools – SharePoint • Converting paper systems to Digital • Making better decisions and insights with Data
Arron also shared their extensive use of KATA at Admiral Packaging. Each attendee was give a KATA card with the Five Questions on it. Arron emphasized that the success of KATA is not so much due to the questions themselves, but the discipline of constantly probing for improvements.
There was a lot to see and hear on the plant tour. There was so much, that we ran out of time and did not see the entire manufacturing area. This left open the opportunity to tour the plant again in approximately one year’s time. There was excellent signage and labeling everywhere. It was a very visual plant, which left nothing to chance. Everything was labeled and there was a place for everything and everything was in its place.
One of the more spectacular areas of the plant was the incoming warehouse. It was very clean, well organized and a minimum of materials on the floor, which actually was staged material for day’s use. Virtually all waste materials are collected and are sold or given for recycling.
After the plant tour, we had a very lively Plus/Delta feedback session.