Increasing Productivity – Nutmeg Container

Daniel Penn - Case Study

DPA helps Nutmeg Container increase productivity
for specialty wood products and palleting operations

Nutmeg Container Corp. Protective Packaging Division needed to increase productivity in its specialty wood products and maintenance departments. Daniel Penn Associated conducted two Kaizen events at the company. The projects were partly funded by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund’s PRIME (Process Reengineering for Increased Manufacturing Efficiency) program.

DPA Lean process experts worked with Nutmeg’s team to find ways to increase production of its wood containers. The employee team mapped each the wood shop’s manual processes to identify value-added, non-value-added, decision, handoff and delay steps. After “try-storming” process improvement ideas and prioritizing each based upon impact, Nutmeg employees discovered that the flow of materials could be accelerated by setting up jigs and a make-ready area for repeat items. Initial improvements in workflow have resulted in a 72 percent decrease in unit throughput time, from 9:39 to 2:45 minutes.

In the second Kaizen event, DPA consultants helped Nutmeg’s maintenance department find ways to improve the cycle time and reliability of a strapping machine that bales pallets of folded boxes. After several tests, employees determined that the main cause of the machine’s delays resided in the machine’s feeder track. They also determined that the strapper head could be effectively maintained by cutting a new access hole in its jaws and replacing its oiling units.

To reduce the distance operators walk to retrieve the pallet straps, the team built a cart to move straps to their point of use. A Total Productive Maintenance (TPM Card) provides the vehicle for the operator to support the reliability of the strapper. These and other 5S changes resulted in an immediate 36 percent reduction in the time to strap a pallet, with a projected 53 percent improvement after installation of an automated conveyor.

As a result of the two events facilitated by DPA, TPM practices will be applied across all machines by Nutmeg Container’s Kaizen team members.