Lighting Services Inc (LSI), located in Stony Point, NY is a premier manufacturer of Track, Accent, Display and LED Lighting Systems. Since 1958, they have been dedicated to designing, engineering, and manufacturing the highest quality lighting systems. LSI currently employs over 100 people at their Rockland County facility.
LSI’s mission is to be a premier specialty lighting company by creating products that will not only fulfill their customers’ needs but also enrich and beautify everyday lives. They will accomplish this mission through corporate wide creativity, top-notch personnel and service, outstanding leadership in design and engineering, coupled with superior materials and manufacturing techniques.
In 2010, as with many companies closely tied to the building industry, LSI was experiencing a declining market. Looking for economic opportunities available through any New York State agencies or affiliates, Ken Kane, LSI’s Executive Vice President contacted the Hudson Valley Technology Development Center, Inc. (HVTDC) to see what opportunities might be available for a manufacturer in the Hudson Valley.
HVTDC’s Bob Winrow first met with Mr. Kane and, after a series of meetings, HVTDC’s David Tooker, CFPIM, QI, CMBBSS, Senior Lean and Quality Systems Engineer was introduced. Dave offered LSI a complimentary Value Stream Mapping proposal that identified opportunities for improvement and areas of “waste” in their Quotation process. The result? By improving process performance, LSI was able to re-balance the load and increase customer response time plus improve their customer’s “experience”. As a result of what was learned through HVTDC and the VSM project, LSI went on to fix another one of their internal bottlenecks, reducing turn- around time from an average of 30 days, to under 5 days for issuing credits.
At this point a comfort level was clearly established and, in April 2011, LSI contracted with HVTDC to help address the most common cause of late shipments, stocking out of material. LSI identified the lack of required parts available in stock as contributing to lower on-time deliveries and causing congestion in the manufacturing areas. The Center’s project objective was to eliminate root causes for late customer shipments and component stock-outs. Tooker set up operations, planning and purchasing teams to investigate cause and affects and to identify and implement the improvements required to reduce and minimize stock-outs.
A project “charter” was created by Tooker that held all parties accountable to achieve the following impacts:
• Bring on-time customer shipments to 95%, and reduce or eliminate back orders. ACHIEVED – LSI is now
at 93% and, by the end of 2011, there were 0 back orders on the books.
• Free up warehouse and production space
• Improved product flow
• Improved productivity by reducing search times
• Improved productivity to allow LSI to work on more value added activities
• Made work environment safer and more enjoyable
• Increase gross margin by 5% ACHIEVED
LSI feels strongly that improvements in these areas over the past year have contributed to the 27% increase in sales, and the need to hire 8 additional full time employees.
Around the same time HVTDC was addressing the stock-out issue, Tooker began to implement company wide 5S initiatives. Tooker’s initial audit revealed that LSI had significant room for improvement. Through implementation of 5S techniques throughout numerous departments, LSI can proudly report itself at 80-85% which greatly impacts productivity and employee morale.
“Working with LSI employees was one of my most enjoyable experiences,” said Tooker. “They quickly generated improvement ideas and implemented them. Every time I work with a company that successfully implements a plant wide 5S process the cultural change is eye opening.”
Recognizing the need for continuous improvement, LSI was interested in obtaining resources for corrective actions focused on waste stream reductions and waste elimination on production activities. With the help of HVTDC, LSI received technical assistance through the NYS Department of Economic Development’s Environmental Investment Program TAP initiative. HVTDC has conducted a Comprehensive Environmental and Productivity Assessment that identifies additional opportunities and cost savings to waste stream reduction. HVTDC and LSI began this initiative in November, 2011.
Mr. Kane stated, “With Dave’s help, we have been able to implement many factory floor practices which not only help us today, but are building blocks for even greater success in the future. Everyone loves what he has been able to help us do.”