Located in Ferndale, Washington, Healthy Pet® is part of the J. Rettenmaier & Söhne Group (JRS), a family-owned global leader in natural fiber processing for use in pet care, life sciences and a broad range of technical applications. JRS’ pet care offerings include the successful CAT’S BEST® and CHIPSI brands, as well as a variety of other litter and bedding products. The company supplies products to customers from over 25 facilities worldwide.
The client’s initial contact with Impact Washington, part of the MEP National Network™, occurred in 2017, after an employee attended a Toyota Kata event. As a smaller company, Healthy Pet® didn’t have experience in Lean training concepts. Recognizing that an improved processing system would help them support their continuous growth and improvement in manufacturing operations, the company reached out to Impact Washington. As one of the top suppliers of their product, Healthy Pet®’s goal was to reduce costs and stay competitive.
Healthy Pet® partnered with Impact Washington in November of 2017 and it has been a fruitful journey that continues to support our company and employees. Our company is growing and we realized the need for assistance in training our workforce and adopting a lean culture with proper skills. Impact Washington was the right partner to ‘lean into’ to help us in our continuous improvement journey. They provided us the knowledge and resources to implement Lean tools into our company and aided in the training of our employees to have the knowledge to sustain the tools. The training environment is excellent because our employees are learning and take pride in their accomplishments as they improve their work processes. They work hard in the Kaizen events, have fun, and build teamwork!
Engagement between Healthy Pet® and Impact Washington kicked off in 2018 with Lean 101 training, which provided employees with the foundational steps. Impact Washington then conducted a Value Stream Mapping assessment to better understand and identify areas of improvement in the company’s operational production processes. This study paid specific attention to flow of processes to ascertain where eliminating waste and process bottlenecks would occur, and helped determine the steps needed to satisfy customer needs and identify pain points.
A series of Kaizen events focused on streamlining the warehouse floor layout to create a more accessible working environment. To reduce labor time and costs, a software program called Tableau was engaged to assist in production scheduling. By taking data from the main system, this program was able to assume scheduling responsibilities to better meet customer demand and free up the plant manager’s time. Lastly, Healthy Pet® employees were educated on the 5S program — basic housekeeping to help them understand the discipline around why they are doing things in a particular way and why they need to use the tools properly to maintain and sustain growth.