• Joe Rizzo

Recap: Lean Leaders Meeting Admiral Packaging

The New England Lean Consortium kicked off the New Year with another successful Lean Leaders meeting at Admiral Packaging in Providence, RI, on January 31st. The meeting attracted nineteen attendees, many of who returned to see what had changed since the last Lean Leaders Meeting of January 2019. For starters, the meeting was held in the newly renovated meeting/training space, complete with kitchen and employees lunch 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 their 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).

After a brief presentation on the company and its history, by Harley Frank, President of Admiral Packaging, Arron Carroll, Manager of Technical Services and Continuous Improvement gave the company presentation on their Lean Activities.

One of the areas highlighted in the presentation was the use of Microsoft SharePoint to manage the maintenance work order system. There is a formal system in place to review work orders to make sure that the work requested is required and necessary. The system is then used to prioritize all the work orders. There is a follow up procedure in place to review the work to make sure it was completed and the work order can be closed out. The system is accessible to all staff and management.

At last year’s Lean Leaders Meeting we did not get to see the entire plant due to time limitations. There was just too much to see. This year’s plant tour was focused on just a few key areas where the attendees could get a more in depth explanation of what was going on in the area and how it was improved since last years.

The areas were:

• The Warehouse

• New Lamination press

• Kanban process for MRO and office supplies

• Flexographic printing press with quick change capability

• Ink Mixing room and color matching at the printing press

• Engineering and their project status board

The tour that I was on, started in the Warehouse, where there were numerous changes and improvements. The most dramatic change was the installation of a new laminator, with the accompanying area changes required for the new machine. The first requirement was to isolate the machine from the rest of the warehouse. This was done with a vinyl strip curtain from one end of the warehouse to the receiving docks.

Another improvement was the complete conversion to plastic pallets for all roll materials. The new plastic pallet completely supports the roll material and does not damage the roll. Additionally they fabricated an angled pallet table to allow the roll stock to be easily rolled off the plastic pallet and on to a long table so no additional steps or equipment in needed to get the roll stock to the lamination machine.

One of the most unique and beneficial changes in the warehouse is the preparation of the rolls before they are moved to the storage racks or the machines. All of the packaging and roll support materials that come in from the supplier are removed from the rolls and the rolls are placed on the plastic pallets. This prep work is all non-value added work. By doing this work in the warehouse and not at the machines, the amount of value added time at the machines is increased. Also the non-value added work of collecting the packaging materials and moving the waste material back to the warehouse was eliminated.

Virtually all waste materials are collected and are sold or given for recycling

After the plant tour, there was a very lively Plus/Delta feedback session, a sign of a very successful Lean Leaders Meeting.

For more information, you can visit the company website: www.admiralpkg.com