SoPark Corporation

Interim Management

> RESULTS

  • 80% reduction in past due orders
  • 60% reduction in production cycle times
  • Kan Ban systems and supply chain management techniques adopted by several key customers
  • 4 percentile improvement in first pass quality at final inspection

> COMPANY

SoPark Corporation, located in Lackawanna, NY, is a contract manufacturer of electronic assemblies consisting primarily of printed circuit board assemblies, electro-mechanical assemblies, wire and cable assemblies, and induction motors. The company, founded in 1981, has grown consistently since its inception. Manufacturing operations are conducted on a two shift basis within a single level, 27,000 square foot facility. A privately held company, SoPark's business base is primarily within the Western New York area and serves a number of high profile accounts in medical, computer, motion control and other prominent industries. The company employs over 150 people, including production personnel.

> SITUATION

SoPark had been experiencing annual sales growth of over 30%, which severely taxed the production capacity of the operation and adversely affected the company's ability to effectively serve its expanded customer base. Despite the addition of fifty new production personnel, sufficient productivity gains were not realized. At this time, SoPark was struggling with efforts to implement a lean manufacturing approach. While company management recognized the benefits of lean manufacturing techniques to improve production flow, they also had recognition of several serious limitations to achieve this. Both management and production personnel only had a very basic, rudimentary understanding of lean manufacturing concepts. This level of knowledge was inadequate to effectively drive such a drastic change throughout the organization. Additionally, there were pockets of cultural resistance to lean manufacturing at different levels and within various functions of the organization.

> SOLUTION

SoPark's senior management contacted Insyte Consulting regarding the possibility of utilizing one of Insyte Consulting's consulting professionals as an Interim Operations Manager in order to provide direction in the implementation of lean manufacturing concepts, particularly in the Manufacturing and Materials Management areas. The project was designed to provide operational support for up to four days per week over a six month period.

The first step was to provide a full day of training in the principles and concepts of lean manufacturing for all employees. This enabled each employee to gain an understanding of the benefits of lean manufacturing, relate these benefits to their own responsibilities and to subsequently eliminate any inherent resistance to this methodology. From this point, value stream mapping exercises were completed for the purpose of identifying the specific lean manufacturing tools that would have the greatest and most immediate impact on the business. Subsequently, the Insyte consultant worked with company personnel to implement various lean tools including work place organization, cellular flow and pull systems into the manufacturing and support areas. The level of support and acceptance increased as the personnel became more comfortable with this approach to manufacturing.

Dramatic improvements were realized by the end of the six month engagement. Past due orders were reduced by 80%, which enabled SoPark to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of customer service. Production cycle times were reduced by 60% from 15 days, down to just six days. In addition, these lean manufacturing techniques were also embraced by several of SoPark's key customers, as Kan Ban systems and supply chain management techniques were initiated at company or customer locations. However, the benefits were not just limited to productivity gains. First pass quality improved by four percentiles at final inspection, which also significantly reduced scrap, rework and customer rejects. Finally, SoPark was able to meet the growing demands of the business and provide exceptional response to its customers. The company is now well positioned to meet its projected growth objectives and it is anticipated that current sales will double over the next four years. As a result of the Interim Operations Management engagement, the internal staff of SoPark is better equipped to meet these demands.


"The use of an Interim Operations Manager facilitated the transition from theory to actual implementation of lean manufacturing concepts. In addition, we were able to quickly fill a gap in our management staff without having to conduct an extensive, time consuming search for a full time operations manager." - Dan Liebel, President