About Omni Technologies
Omni Technologies (Greendale, Indiana) manufactures a variety of items for industrial applications, including engineered plastics and elastomers, and serves many industries with a diverse array of services, including: Molding (Compression and injection); Casting (Open, Spin, Vacuum); Component Design and Engineering; Prototyping; and Machining and Fabrication.
Omni’s vision is to build an organization that, without exception, meets or exceeds the expectations of our customers, recognizes and rewards the contribution of employees, and acknowledges the need for profitability to sustain the planned, measured growth of the company.
In their journey towards World-Class, Omni Technologies recognized the need for accelerated improvement initiatives and team development. Front-line leadership and greater employee engagement in the improvement process became paramount to their ability to reduce waste, increase competitiveness, and exceed their customer’s needs. To maintain their reputation as the premium supplier and gain market share against strong competitors, Omni Technologies chose to push aside “business as usual” and move towards higher standards and accountability and more meaningful work lives for their employees.
During the past year Omni had implemented Starpoint, a continuous improvement system, as well as a 5S program. Though the Starpoint program was generating improvements, the 5S program had stalled. As the company was preparing to break ground on a new building, Owner/President Don Culbertson wanted to energize his employees and speed up the improvement efforts. He also wanted to instill a greater sense of urgency and accountability for improvement efforts plant-wide, and create a culture of change within the company.
Definity Partners Plan
Definity Partners began work in Omni’s molding department, working with the molders to eliminate waste and identify improvements. The employees were a little apprehensive about our plans to help them, but were willing to work with us, tell us their needs, and provide ideas. Once they learned that the company was committed to change and their voices were being heard, ideas came more rapidly. Champions of change quickly emerged, and began to implement improvements in many areas.
After attending the Definity Lean Simulation class and learning terms like “one piece flow” and “pull production”, Teressa Jones (from the trim department), along with Mike Portwood and Chris Hayes from the Quality department, reinvented their area and changed the layout to support one-piece-flow and pull-production. While Trystorming these concepts, they slashed the standard time for some jobs by more than 50%.
Plant supervisor Brian Lee, also following the simulation, created a production card system which slashed the number of overruns by 300%, and virtually eliminated the need to re-run parts from a cold mold.
The mold-making department conducted a week-long Kaizen event focused on reducing cycle time in molding, simplifying mold repair, and standardizing mold design elements. Through new design elements by Steve Geiser and support and execution from all involved, several new key design elements were introduced which will benefit the operation for years to come.
As change was taking root across the plant, team huddles were implemented to discuss current performance, to celebrate success, and to identify more opportunities for improvement. Cross functional huddles in the office opened up lines of communication and created at atmosphere of support and problem solving. And, as employees at all levels begin to gain ownership of initiatives and make improvements, the supervisors were spending less time firefighting and more time focused on fostering the improvement culture.
What they had to say
“The plant floor has a new look and feel to it. I really think our people have the feeling they are being listened to, and our supervisors are more confident. Plus, we are no longer experiencing the “revolving door” of employee turnover”. ~ Pete Bambey, Controller
“We can choose to continue with “business as usual”, endure frustrations, not meet our customers needs, and watch the competition threaten our market share and jobs, or we can exhibit the aggressiveness and innovative spirit that will move us ahead and allow us to achieve the valued supplier status that we want and need. We have chosen the latter option.” ~ Don Culbertson, President/Owner