Production floor improvements translate into customer advantage
New Berlin Plastics has been taking aggressive measures to prepare for growth over the past few years. In the last eight months, the company has expanded its production floor to significantly increase its capabilities, capacity, and efficiency.
As a result, we can produce a higher volume and wider variety of parts at a very competitive price point that many injection molders can’t equal.
“We’ve made some major investments to upgrade our operations. Our customers are already reaping the rewards of those efforts,” explains New Berlin Plastics President Jim Schneberger.
The company has experienced a 30% sales increase since last year as more OEMs are increasing production levels. That has driven a company-wide initiative to expand capacity and streamline our operations. These improvements have included:
- Six new injection molding presses have been installed to provide higher capacity and better efficiency, including a 1400-ton press that expands the top range of the part sizes we can produce.
- Each new press includes auxiliary equipment including material dryers, water heaters, blenders and robotic arms for handling parts.
- A new work cell and cell leader have been added to help manage the increased workload.
- To set larger tooling for the new presses, a 25-ton crane system, two smaller cranes, and a backup hoist have been installed.
- To open up 10,000 sq. ft. of production floor space, raw materials and finished product inventory have been moved to a nearby warehouse. This extra storage is especially helpful because the company has built up its resin inventory to help protect our customers against industry-wide shortages.
- Larger and more efficient air compressors and water chillers have been installed to support the new molding equipment.
- Twenty employees have been hired in the last year, including operators and supervisors. Two of those employees are bilingual to ensure clear communication with Spanish-speaking employees.
- A new multimedia communication station on the production floor gives employees daily goals and initiatives, as well as real-time project status updates so all employees understand their objectives and progress toward them.
These combined improvements have made New Berlin Plastics more efficient than ever before, improving our flexibility and capability to meet customer demand.
“We never charge our customers for inefficiency or waste that we could have prevented,” says Manufacturing Manager Eric Pipkin. “We continually evaluate the performance of equipment and internal processes. Then we decide when to replace them with better, more efficient options,” he points out.
“Even something as simple as replacing old lighting in our production area has helped us save money on electricity costs. These small cost reductions add up, allowing us to keep costs down and remain a competitive option for companies to source their injection molding needs,” he adds.
While new, high-efficiency equipment is essential to New Berlin Plastics’ success, people are also a powerful factor in our success.
“When you have a great group of people, you can do anything,” Schneberger emphasizes. “Employees are the real value of our organization. That’s why we continuously strive to retain and grow our talent.”
After 46 years in business, New Berlin Plastics has learned the importance of continually seeking improvements to our People, Process, and Technology.
“We remain a stable supplier because our continuous improvements make us stronger,” Pipkin says. “Our customers have confidence that we will always be a reliable, long-term partner.”