MARYSVILLE, Ohio—Step into the conference room of Veyance Technologies Inc.'s Marysville belting plant, and everything has a place. A projector and two speakers rest on the main table, each with an assigned spot carved out by three white boxes of tape and appropriately labeled.
Next to the arrangement is a fourth box, seemingly housing nothing. Look closer, and that box is labeled “cord,” and within it is a coiled up cable connecting the equipment to the appropriate outlet.
That's the kind of detail the firm brings to its manufacturing practices.
“If you can't do it in this room, you can't do it anywhere,” said Troy Nix, executive director of the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers, the group Veyance hosted for a recent tour of its Marysville facility.
The 110,000-sq.-ft. facility rests on a 10 acre plot, was built in 1966 and employs 292. It currently utilizes about 65 percent of its total capacity, Plant Manger Chris Flint said. Marysville primarily produces fabric and steel belting. Belts account for about 45 percent of Veyance's sales, with mining being the primary industry.
And the firm brings the same attention to detail into every belt it makes, all the way down to the raw material supply, which it produces on a made-to-order basis. Veyance's facility in St. Mary's, Ohio, feeds Marysville with about 300,000 pounds of raw material per day, Flint said.
Veyance makes its fabric to order because if it ordered from a standard supplier, it may have to cut anywhere from 200 to 300 feet off to accommodate the non-standard sized belts it manufacturers. Producing raw materials on a made-to-order basis eliminates tons of unnecessary waste.
“Nobody wants to be the person putting that in the landfill,” Flint said. “Nobody wants to waste all that labor, time and raw material to stick something in a landfill because the customer called and wanted a 1,628-foot belt and not 2,000.”
In 2010, Veyance embarked on a company-wide lean initiative, and the Marysville facility has taken greater strides in reducing waste and maximizing its resources. It trained the work force and began hosting kaizen, or continuous improvement, events every other week with a kaizen meeting every Thursday focused on improving its manufacturing process.
Flint said the average savings per event is $83,000 with some events leading to savings approaching $300,000.
Flint refuses to manage from the office. In fact it's one of his biggest pet peeves. He and the rest of the Marysville executive team take two gemba—which in Japanese business means go see—walks per day, one at 7:30 a.m. and the other at 3:30 p.m. The staff will engage its employees and gather feedback on how to improve the manufacturing process.
“We had somewhat of a learning platform or a reason to change,” said Tim Jarvis, director of manufacturing. “With the company going into private equity, we had some tough goals that we had to satisfy in the very short term. We had to change our business philosophy, and we used lean to do that.”
The firm was divested by Goodyear to the Carlyle Group in 2007 and earlier this year Continental A.G.'s ContiTech business unit entered an agreement to buy Veyance from the equity group. That deal is projected to be finalized by the end of 2014, Jarvis said.