MISCO Products is a Reading, Pennsylvania, manufacturer of liquid cleaning chemicals used primarily in exclusive branding for the janitorial sanitation, food service, education, healthcare and other commercial and industrial markets.
MISCO Products faced several challenges relating to order scheduling and training standardization. The former involved accepting rush orders and changes until the time of shipment, which gave the appearance of flexibility and good customer service but essentially rewarded customers’ bad planning. These rush orders would be filled—sometimes multiple times a day—but often at the expense of other orders from customers who did not push the company to take such extreme measures. The latter was an area where MISCO recognized their shortcomings regarding haphazard training. In many cases, long-standing policies and procedures were communicated informally and with insufficient accuracy. The company also sought to better understand the opportunities made possible by the ongoing “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
We’re onboarding new employees all the time. Together with MRC we put together a training committee and job instruction training process. Now, when new hires start, we explain what their first day looks like. Their first week is standardized and they receive follow-up training in subsequent weeks. We’ve standardized how we train them.
As a first project, MISCO Products engaged MRC, part of the Pennsylvania MEP and the MEP National Network™, for customized lean coaching, process improvement and problem solving training. The company’s operations, sales and leadership teams worked together with MRC to implement a policy accepting rush orders until 9:00 a.m. before the day of shipment. “Initially we were concerned about whether customers would be upset,” says Dave Kutz, MISCO’s Vice President of Operations. “We chose to communicate proactively, explaining that customers with rush orders get what they want that day, but their future orders might suffer when others make similar demands.” After many cross-functional meetings facilitated by MRC, MISCO implemented a definitive deadline for all rush orders. “Now, if the vice president of sales says they absolutely have to have something today,” Kutz explains, “we’ve empowered production to say 'we can’t do that, but here’s what we can do.’"
MISCO turned to MRC for training within industry (TWI) job instruction (JI) training to eliminate training shortcomings. MISCO Products representatives also attended an exploratory Bosch Rexroth Industry 4.0 event. “We want to understand what the opportunities are,” Kutz says. “We are still evaluating, and there may not even be a definitive endpoint, but we had a chance to see what others are doing to improve quality and efficiency by leveraging machine intelligence technology and how we might apply it ourselves. The event confirmed for us that there are a number of opportunities worth pursuing.”