World class organizations from across all industrial sectors turn to espi for a partner they can truly count on. Working with such a broad range of companies and unique challenges has equipped espi with the expertise and experience required to overcome any challenge and deliver results. espi has been successful in creating a culture that allows the organization to continuously improve through analysis, refinement and execution.
FMI specializes in helping their customers bring their OTC, beauty, personal care, household fragrance, and pet care products to market by manufacturing and filling this wide variety of items.
As a natural extension of this work, they are now expanding into the storage and shipment of client products through an expanded “Pick and Pack” operation. They have been servicing some of their smaller customers under a small operation that they affectionately call the “brute force method.” Since this is not their area of expertise, they needed assistance in further developing this operation covering their operational layout, inventory control, daily activities, and system control.
The espi team gathered key business information to gain a better understanding of the current and longer-term “Pick and Pack” operations. The information included current and projected inventories, orders, and forecasts for the current and future customers.
After the information was analyzed an inventory strategy, long-term storage, and immediate order picking requirements by SKU and customer were determined. We then established how the process would function using a combination of manual and semi-automated functions. Based on these, warehousing floor space for the current and accounting for potential estimated future growth was determined.
Next, espi developed a conceptual physical layout of the warehousing and established how the materials would be organized. Recommended equipment such as racking, shelving, conveyors, material handling, and a scanning system was determined. Following the selection and installation of the racking, the espi team evaluated the new conÿguration to ensure that the material locations were set to handle all transactions.
The current costing model for the Pick-n-Pack operation was also analyzed. Based on other models and our recommended processes costs were identified and the model was updated while at the same time maintaining cost competitiveness within acceptable industry levels.
East Coast Erosion Control (ECEC) was founded in 2002 with a commitment to provide quality products and superior service. By following and strictly adhering to that mission statement; ECEC has become one of the leading manufacturers and providers of a global portfolio of erosion and sediment control products. Their commitment to high quality and customer satisfaction has established a new standard for the rolled erosion control blanket market.
As their business grew, ECEC realized that there was a need to improve and automate their operational processes. Prior to this project, the ECEC processes were all manual. Roll weights were manually marked on forms that were then inserted in the rolls. Machine downtime was manually recorded on paper forms, which was not very accurate. Production data were manually recorded and then entered into a handheld terminal which interfaces with the MISys ERP system.
espi partnered with GCI to develop and implement Advanced Shop Floor Control System for the Blanket Machine. This System provides automated reporting of production information to the MISys system, captures downtime information, captures quality information, generates product labels (with roll weight, bar codes, and QR codes), and provides production and quality reports. Information provided by the system will assist ECEC in making better and timelier production decisions as well as identifying areas for additional improvements. It will also help ECEC meet upcoming American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) regulations which will require plant audit inspections to ensure quality compliance. Other benefits of this new system are improved inventory accuracy, improved raw material consumption accuracy, and improved equipment utilization.
East Coast Erosion now has the capability to track downtime and automatically report production data such as roll weights, length, and quantity. This system will help East Coast Erosion measure the performance and thereby achieve their productivity targets.
QA application was developed to support the roll production and downtime tracking system. This QA application was developed in ASP.NET and runs on the PC server’s IIS server.
System reports have been developed for Rolls Produced Report and Downtime Report. These reports were developed and run on Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services.
The following tasks and accomplishments were achieved by the project team during the development, installation, and start-up of the Blanket Machine QC System on two blanket machines at the ECEC facility in Bernville, PA. These led to signiÿcant operational process improvements on these machines.
The project team assisted GCI with the development of the QC System for the Blanket Machines. During the project, weekly conference calls occurred to review the status of the project. Weekly status reports were also issued that provided the activities completed during the current weekly period as well as the activities expected to be delivered during the next weekly period.
The original plan envisioned by Suburban Testing Labs (STL) involved the addition of a new Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) room and a rough plan for specs for landlord fit out of the remaining available area. This was necessary in order to accommodate future growth by STL of the remaining floor space in their newly acquired building space.
During the discovery and evaluation phases of the project it was determined by Suburban that the original project scope needed to be modified to also include the relocation and expansion of an existing PREP laboratory. Certain other testing stations were identified as part of these expansion requirements.
espi worked with the Suburban Testing team to understand their processes and the relationship of the new BOD room and Prep laboratory to the other areas in their facility. A rough floor plan providing general plumbing, electrical feeds and demolition was established as part of STL’s expansion planning and landlord build out requirements.
Process flows with sample storage and testing equipment /workstations were determined. The team also established these for both the additional base and additional space while also accounting for future growth for a Prep and Gravimetric laboratory.
Following development of the floor space requirements and equipment locations and relocation of specified testing laboratories, the next phase of this project involved a more detailed plan for build out of the new bay and modification of the existing facility for the BOD room, Prep, Gravimetric lab and sample storage areas.
espi worked with the STL team to finalize these locations and requirements in order to make the modifications and improvements to the existing layout, thereby optimizing the available floor space and streamlining the process flow. Then, general RFP documentation for the required work including detailed equipment lists and a TO-BE layout of the targeted areas within the building were developed.
espi and the STL team located and laid out a proposed new BOD room and effectively used the remaining additional floor space for testing lab expansion. The potential growth affecting other laboratory tests performed in the various departments was considered. Based on this, STL executive management determined it was necessary to expand capacity and capabilities of the current PREP department.
During the course of this task it was necessary to revise the original project work scope envisioned by STL in order to achieve the targeted goals based on future growth expansion needs. This scope revision entailed:
STL’s executive management determined the growth that will be experienced with various tests performed in the PREP laboratory. Based on this, it was determined to relocate the current PREP lab to the newly expanded floor space. The proposed new location for this department was expanded. Certain tests presently done in PREP were allocated to other departments further increasing the capacity of this area and better utilizing the floor space.
Detailed Testing Equipment /Workstation lists including sizing requirements were established in each testing department including identification of support utilities. A proposed TO-BE layout including modifications to the existing operations and additional floor space was developed. The proposed layout accounted for the additional floor space and included changes to the existing operations in certain areas of the building, encompassing the various key testing applications and testing environment conditions.
espi also developed RFP documentation outlining the work scope necessary to make the required construction improvements and build out requirements to the building. This documentation was categorized by skill type and preferred sub-contractors were selected by STL executive management, competitive bid quotations.
As a result of this project, the STL and espi teams worked together to develop a detailed plan for the introduction a Biochemical Oxygen Demand Room and identified for use of the additional floor space. Modifications to the current laboratory departments were detailed and incorporated as part of the overall expansion plan. The RFP documentation reflecting the modifications and work scope requirements were developed for release to prospective contractors.
These detailed plans and documentation, when executed, will assist Suburban Testing in successfully attaining the improved utilization of both current and new floor space in their facility. The benefits will also contribute in streamlining the various testing processes and allowing them the ability to keep up with current demand and the opportunity to further expand based on future business growth.
As of this writing full construction was not completed. However, areas for expansion have been identified and documentation developed for this work. The benefits from these when fully executed will assist Suburban Testing in moving forward with their future expansion and build out of their facility to accommodate their projected growth.