Lean helps pallet manufacturing company improve facility operations

Lean helps pallet manufacturing company improve facility operations

PalletOne, the largest pallet manufacturing company in the country, recently announced it has seen huge success after implementing a lean operations program that has boosted efficiency and even lowered the risk for occupational injury, Pallet Enterprise reports. 

Now, the Butner, North Carolina plant has become a shining example of how well lean operations can work. 

According to the news source, the factory is now the flagship facility for PalletOne’s lean capabilities, and handles the coordination of the company’s colored mulch certification program. Adopting lean principles didn’t mean buying new, expensive equipment, though. Instead, facility managers have uncovered ways to increase production, make the workplace safer and even improve product quality through lean processes. 

For the past three years, the company has been working to seamlessly integrate lean manufacturing processes into its current methods, which has proven to lower the time it takes to finish any given task, reduce waste and keep asset downtime to a minimum. 

“The whole world is under a margin squeeze; by identifying lean savings, you can improve your margins without increasing prices.” He added, “The Butner plant is the star of the show as far as adopting lean manufacturing principles.”

According to the news source, the company’s decision to go lean was made after a customer suggested PalletOne look into it. A short time later, senior officials with the company had brought in lean consultants that slowly transformed the workplace into a much tighter-running operation. Wallace even established a new senior management position to ensure all plant managers and supervisors received the proper lean training, who were tasked with developing an adoption plan that would focus on one area, and how this could be improved. 

PalletOne took the traditional 5S lean strategy, which includes sorting, set in order, systematic cleaning, standardizing and sustaining, and added a sixth S, safety, to make it more unique to their operation.

When implementing the strategy, many company leaders found lean was more than just a way to operate. 

“It’s a culture thing putting lean manufacturing to work at PalletOne,” said Eddie Stokes, sawing supervisor. “Lean is not just a process, it is a culture change.”

All told, the company has seen remarkable improvement in cutting costs. From cleaning up the hydraulic fluid that leaked onto the floor to getting rid of the clutter that had accumulated around the nailing machines, it all helped improve efficiency. 

“Thanks to the lean process changes we are making a pallet a nickel cheaper than we were a year ago at the Butner facility,” Wallace said. 

According to Environmental Protection, the success of lean manufacturing is not only leading to more profit for American industrial facilities, but it is also helping clean up operations

“lean manufacturing and environmental sustainability is the same thing, even if their impetus doesn’t always come from the same perspective,” wrote Bruce Hagenau, founder of ISO-certified precision metals company Metcam, Inc. 

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