“The lean techniques taught to us by HVTDC has helped us realize a multitude of time and cost savings”. These are the words of Mr. Joseph Lindsay, Director of Operations at VistaLab Technologies, Inc.
VistaLab Technologies, Inc. is a privately held company employing 20 people with manufacturing and corporate headquarters in Mt. Kisco, New York. The Company’s experience in liquid handling products originated in the early 1970’s as part of Medical Laboratory Automation, Inc., when a mechanical pipette was developed for use in conjunction with the company’s automated coagulation instruments. MLA pipettes have become one of the most respected brands in the field of laboratory science. In 1999, the coagulation product line was divested, and VistaLab Technologies, Inc. was formed as an independent entity to focus on the liquid handling market. The Company is an ISO 9001 certified facility, and employs quality systems to continuously improve its products and services.
HVTDC’s Field Engineer, Phil vanOss was first introduced to Vista when the company was looking for a manufacturer of one of its part components. In 2009, HVTDC alerted Vista to a NYS STEP grant where, if awarded, the grant monies could pay for lean training and implementation. Vista was successful in obtaining this grant and decided to hire HVTDC to train their staff and assist with the implementation of lean techniques one of which was Value Stream Mapping. VSM is a key Lean tool used to quickly gain valuable insight into a process and isolate opportunities for meaningful improvements. It is the foundation for a company to begin to establish their lean roadmap as well as identify “Green” initiatives. Another area analyzed was inventory management. Inventory management (better known as inventory reduction) helps a company maintain appropriate levels of value added inventory, increase inventory turnover without sacrificing service and balances lower prices by making volume purchases while limiting slow-moving inventory and balances appropriate inventory on hand without getting caught with obsolete items.
As a result of the value stream mapping activity and the resulting Lean implementation effort, Vista cycle time in manufacturing product of their premier “Ovation” line went from 44 weeks down to 11 weeks not including parts acquisition time.
Inventory reduction was realized to the tune of approx. $187k. This included reduction of component parts from $325k to $200k, work-in-process inventory from $32k to $3.5k and finished goods inventory from $95k to $44k. The improved inventory management approach helped to improve customer responsiveness, created a smaller footprint of manufacturing and warehousing, created a more flexible workspace and workforce producing to demand.