Eastern Aero Marine Adds Value
MIAMI – Eastern Aero Marine of Miami requested Gil Lugo to assist them in improving inventory control, reduce lead times for product manufacturing and enhance customer satisfaction.
The request met with complete success, according to Paul H. Streb, director of manufacturing operations for the 50 year-old company that manufactures life vests and life rafts for the worldwide aircraft and marine industry.
“Gil’s team took a mishmash of pickup sticks and arranged them in neat order,” Streb said. “Those people really know what they are doing and identified our problem areas quickly and offered immediate remedies to many of our problems.”
Streb said the Value Stream Map (VSM) process involved interviewing the purchasing, materials and manufacturing managers, along with himself. The map provided important material and information flow that laid the groundwork for the recommendations that were implemented. At the same time, Eastern Aero was introduced to the Lean Techniques.
“We spent more than two years implementing lean practices,” Streb said, “and have easily reduced our inventory by $1.5 million. That’s a real saving when you consider what it costs to keep excess inventory on the shelf.”
But Streb did much more than that. He ensured his managers, chief engineer and purchasing manager were all up to date on Lean Techniques. “I want the thought process to be uniform and parallel,” he said. “That way, we don’t have to stop and explain what’s going on all the time.”
Streb said quality is a huge issue for the 145 employees of Eastern Aero Marine. “When you make life vests and rafts there is no room for error,” he said. “Obviously high quality has always been important to us or we would not have been in business for 50 years, but the trick was to reduce our costs and improve our profit margin without compromising our quality.”
“The VSM and Lean allowed us to focus,” Streb added. “It also allowed us to reduce lead time, improve our shipping time and added to our overall customer satisfaction.”
In fact, according to Streb, in addition to the reduction in inventory, Point of Use Storage eliminated the need for a mezzanine warehouse, saved at least two days of material movement, removed redundant approvals and shortened lead times by 10 days, all resulting in tremendous savings for the company.
For Gil Lugo, who headed up the team, the Eastern Aero Marine experience was a positive one from start to finish. “The managers and employees there have been great to work with,” he said. “They have been open to the recommendations we made and quickly moved to remedy situations as they were pointed out.”
Testimonial: For his part, Streb can’t say enough good things about his experience with the consultant’s team. “Every chance I get I recommend them,” he said. “I have nothing but the highest praise for the people there. They are committed to what they do. Everyone who walked through our door was a professional in every sense of the word.”
Paul H. Streb, Director of Manufacturing Operations, Eastern Aero Marine