HARTFORD, CONN. — The productivity gap between large and small manufacturers is growing, according to a lean-manufacturing specialist. "That's why we exist," said Dave Long, who works for the Connecticut State Technology Extension Program. The program, designed to help small and midsize companies, is administered by a nonprofit organization, Connecticut Technology Associates Inc.
Conn/STEP and CTA are in Farmington, Conn.
Long, who spoke at Plasti/ Conn 2000 in Hartford, said about 80 percent of the state's 6,200 manufacturers employ fewer than 100, and many do not have engineering staffs. He said that is where the group's 20 field engineers can make a difference.
Long said Conn/STEP works with the companies in a step-by-step process. Inventory minimization is one goal. Just-in-time principles, cellular manufacturing, continuous/one-piece flow and demand-based production are all ways to trim the process.
He cited a revamped work cell at an undisclosed plumbing-fixture company. The firm reduced its direct labor costs by $30,000 a year and increased throughput by $240,000 a year. Long said all companies can apply lean manufacturing principles and save money.
"Please don't tell me you are unique and it won't work for you," he said.