Continuous Improvement for Gasbarre Products
Gasbarre Products, Inc. of DuBois, PA was founded in 1973 to design, manufacture, and service a complete line of powder compaction and sizing presses for the powder metallurgy industry. Over the previous 10-15 years, Continuous Improvement activities had declined as the company focused on diversifying its customer base with new acquisitions. As a result, their key operational performance metrics were negatively impacted which included decreased on-time-delivery performance and increased scrap rates. By diversifying their customer base, this created challenges in terms of managing the day-to-day priorities which directly impacted on-time-delivery performance. Additionally, due to greater product diversification, this created obstacles in terms of maintaining high quality due to higher process control standards.
One of the most difficult decisions for the company was deciding where to begin, meaning they needed a plan in order to incorporate Continuous Improvement into their plant culture and to improve delivery performance and reduce scrap. Without this, they wouldn’t be positioned to meet their goals which included growth in sales revenue and profitability.
Heath Jenkins, President of Gasbarre Products, wanted a solid plan for Continuous Improvement. “Often the biggest problems with Continuous Improvement are where to begin and then how to sustain,” he said. As a result, the organization was facing some negative implications including:
- if they didn’t take any action, their operations and sales would continue at status quo, making the company relatively less competitive, and
- if they made the wrong choice of where to start, or took the wrong action, it could negatively impact the company even more.
To help with overcoming these potential negative implications, Gasbarre contracted with Future State Engineering (FSE) to help the organization determine how to get started on the path of Continuous Improvement. By performing a three-week Future State Design Sprint, the company developed a plan that defined not only where to begin, but also defined all the objectives and critical success factors necessary to achieve the goals of the organization, along with the Key Performance Indicators to monitor the progress. Additionally, with the new plan, they are positioned to meet or exceed their goals in delivery performance, cost savings, and sales revenue.
Jenkins said, “I knew we needed a roadmap or a scaffolding to help frame everything out – so that is what the design sprint project did for us. We knew it would give us an idea of what to focus on first because we want our team to be as efficient as possible. As a result, we identified key initiatives to focus on that, when optimized, will have an outsized and positive ripple effect throughout the organization.”
According to Jenkins, a significant factor for success of the project was the tight methodology for the project. “Future State Engineering (FSE) was able to get buy-in by interviewing key team members in various roles and levels and we built the road map together with FSE. We learned FSE’s philosophy of getting the operation stable first, before starting to make any improvements. This changes the typical mindset of ‘putting out fires’ which is a big waste of time,” he said.
Gasbarre Products is now set with the objectives, critical success factors, and key performance indicators to move forward with the next phase – implementation. The company is positioned to increase on-time–delivery above 95%, shorten lead times by 50%, and increase company profitability. If you want to learn more regarding a Future State Design Sprint and what it can do for your organization, email Future State Engineering at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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