Rubber Industries Inc. is in the midst of changes that are resulting in some record-breaking numbers, according to new CEO Neil Johnson.
"In the past two of four months we have broken our all-time shipping records," said Johnson, who has been on the job for four months. "In the history of the 40 years (of the company) two of the last four months were the best in the history."
He said Rubber Industries—which is operating on a 24/7 work schedule—is focusing on making sure all 100 employees are visible and aware of the company's performance.
"We care about making goals put forward by our customers," he said of the family-owned business.
Working in process engineering previously, Johnson has found his niche within Rubber Industries.
"What intrigued me was that we do manufacturing; we are a custom shop," he said at the Medical Design & Manufacturing show, held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in Minneapolis. "I like the broad spectrum of the industry."
Rubber Industries makes more than 1,500 products for a variety of industries, and Johnson said he likes that diversity.
"Also I have known the family of the owners for 25 years," he said. "When I was approached, I had the confidence of knowing they were serious about keeping it as a business and I respect how they want to run the business."
The modifications made by Johnson at times may be small, but have been effective, he said.
For example, videos were created and placed next to each machine, showing how the equipment works, which has helped the flow of the manufacturing process.
"We show people how to unload things properly, mold things properly," he said. "We really focused on how to make the people on the floor be successful, and that's been our emphasis."
Each step in the manufacturing process is scanned and logged through a bar code, allowing Johnson or another supervisor to tell where a product is in the production process at all times.
"We know when we make your part where is it in the process: is it close to being a finished good, is it in the middle of being a finished good," he said.
Within the next six months, he said, he'll be able to receive a text message alerting him when an order is completed and what percentage of waste it had.
"We will know at the end of any given shift how effective we were, what was the percentage of our waste and where are we in the process of meeting our customers' orders," he said.
Johnson said many of the ideas to improve operations that he first implemented came directly from his staff.
The changes reversed a problem Rubber Industries was experiencing, he said. "We had certain commitments to the customer that we weren't meeting," he said. "Now we are meeting or exceeding those."
The products were high quality, but Rubber Industries wasn't making them on schedule, Johnson said.
"If we have a commitment on a shipping date, we have to do that, and that's why we restructured our processes and refined some processes to meet those commitments," he said.
The executive said the company will continue to improve and make customers aware of all of the services Rubber Industries offers.
"We go from a print to a part in 10 days," he said. "You get an actual part in your hand instead of a 3D print of it."