Syncro Corporation is a privately-held manufacturing and systems integration company with corporate headquarters located in Arab, Alabama. Syncro has expanded its EMS capabilities into various markets including medical, industrial, utilities, transportation, technology, and military markets. Syncro Corporation offers more than 70 years of experience in product research and development, management, and post manufacturing support.
Syncro has a brake controller production area, along with warehouse inventory, office space, and shipping and receiving areas. The production area was experiencing a growth in inventory and excessive material handling. There was also a desire to reduce the energy consumption throughout the facility.
Syncro utilized the assistance of the Alabama Technology Network center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (ATN-UAH) to work with a team of Syncro personnel to identify and implement improvements that result in throughput and energy savings increases. The ATN assistance was delivered as part of the Alabama E3 (Economy, Energy, Environment) program and the project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The ATN-UAH team began by scoping and scheduling a kaizen event for the brake controller production area. A cross-functional team of Syncro personnel was trained in the principles of lean enterprise and practical energy. The team then observed the current operation and identified opportunities for improvement. Throughout the course of the event, ideas were tested and changes were made that improved flow and reduced the labor required per part. Furthermore, the production operations were rearranged and standardized to use less floor space, less work-in-process inventory and generate more throughput.
In conjunction with the productivity improvement, ATN-UAH identified other energy saving opportunities. Lighting upgrades to more energy-efficient fixtures along with repairs were quantified, as well as locating and quantifying energy lost through air leaks throughout the facility.
The ATN-UAH team successfully facilitated the improvement event, resulting in labor savings of 22%, floor space reduction of 44% and part travel distance reduction of 69% in the brake controller area. Furthermore, potential recurring energy savings of $15,000/year by upgrading lighting and repairing air leaks were identified.
“The results were amazing! We’ve conducted several events in this area and we’re still seeing improvements.”
– Ken Vest, Plant Manager