How Value Stream Mapping Helped REELEX Tackle Its Future Growth

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New York State manufacturing Extension Partnership Success Story

Originally published on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) website with the help of New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP)

About

REELEX Packaging Solutions Inc. is a wire and cable packaging manufacturer located in Patterson, New York. The company’s innovative packaging solution for wire is more eco-friendly, cost-effective, and efficient than its traditional competitors, the spool and reel. The method in which the wire or cable is coiled allows the product to unwind without relying on an internal spool for rotation making the ways in which the product can be utilized and stored much more versatile. Behind the magic are REELEX machines, which are also designed, manufactured, and distributed by REELEX Packaging Solutions Inc. The machines range in capacity and are designed to be used by fellow wire and cable manufacturing facilities.

The Challenge

REELEX Packaging Solutions Inc. found itself on an upward trajectory in spring of 2021 due to an increase in demand for the patented REELEX machines. Leadership determined that the best course of action to manage this growth would be to utilize the benefits of value stream mapping to guide effective practices and processes for future demand, market entry, and product evolution. For help REELEX turned to MTEC, part of the New York MEP and the MEP National Network™.

The value stream map and following on coaching we did under funding from the Next Generation Grant Program allowed REELEX to position themselves for entry into new markets, prepare for the evolution of future production, and increase sales during such an uncertain economic time.
— Thomas Briggs, Operations Manager

MEP’s Role

MTEC conducted value stream mapping through facilitated work sessions with participation from the team at REELEX. The team consisted of employees who collectively represented the process being mapped from beginning to end. MTEC reviewed lean and value stream mapping concepts and techniques as the first step in this project.

Next the team developed and collected data and information about product flow and the process that was originally being used. The information developed by the team was progressively compiled and depicted in a graphical value stream diagram representing the current state process. Through this participative and interactive virtual method, problems, root causes and corrective actions were identified and described.

Using the current state process findings MTEC and the team developed a future state value stream map depicting an improved process. The future state map incorporated the operational requirements and improvement opportunities identified during the analysis of the current state process. Upon completion of the future state map an action plan was created with specific improvement activities for the team to implement.

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