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Digital scale manufacturer focuses on an efficient flow ad maximizing space to increase employee and customer satisfaction

About

Located in St. Charles, IL. with 20 employees, Doran Scales specializes in industrial scales and connectivity software that powers performance.

The Challenge

As competition began to grow and internal processes became more cluttered, Doran Scales faced the realization that they could no longer operate as an “80’s-style” manufacturing company, living off high profits, consistent customers, and minimal demand for quality products. Mark Podl, CEO, knew the operation needed significant improvement and decided to start with transforming the shop floor to an up-to-date, lean and quality-minded, 21st-century organization.
I have yet to come across an IMEC rep that isn’t outstanding. Everyone on their team knows exactly what their role is and what they need to do to help me improve my business. It’s a great group to rely on – I wouldn’t even know who to turn to for this kind of help if it weren’t for IMEC.
— Mark Podl, CEO

MEP's Role

Mark first engaged IMEC, part of the MEP National Network™, in setting the framework for how they would approach and prioritize the many improvements through education on the fundamentals of lean manufacturing. By then identifying the need for a shop floor “clean-up,” the Doran Scales team alongside IMEC laid out a plan for an improvement to the physical plant layout through several Kaizen events. By streamlining manufacturing processes and organizing tools and people in a more efficient flow, the team was able to kick start the journey to lean – each individual owning their incremental improvements and committing to the new way of working.

Over the next three years, Doran Scales turned to IMEC to facilitate ongoing improvements to their shop floor, facility layout, and quality management system. “I always use IMEC as a way to start off an improvement project because they help frame the project, much faster than we could ever do alone,” said Podl. Through various continuous improvement activities, the Doran Scales team was able to realize immediate efficiencies; from the implementation of electronic order fulfillment they’ve streamlined what material is flowing and where, decreased the overall count of steps required to ship a pallet, and seen the return on investment in a new piece of equipment in only 90 days.

Recently the company made the transition to a new building to add space, and ultimately capacity, to meet their customer’s needs. “Our old facility worked for a time, but with the new focus on efficiency we knew we couldn’t make the old work space work for much longer,” said Podl. The more than $3 million investment has already improved their sense of productivity and teamwork – with natural light, complete open space and direct sight lines from offices into production and vice versa. “Without IMEC’s help,” added Mark. “I don’t know how I would’ve found time to do it as a small manufacturer.”

Created June 2, 2020, Updated July 8, 2020