Located in Rochester, New Hampshire, Jaeger USA is a private label manufacturer specializing primarily in waterproofing products and accessories for the construction industry. With over 40,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 40 employees, about 80% of Jaeger USA’s business serves the construction industry with the other 20% in shoe and leather.
Jaeger, founded in Germany in 1925, manufactured hat bands and soon after branched out into reinforcements for the leather shoe industry. After World War II they expanded into other countries. This included the US when in 1963 they partnered with the Textiles Tape Corporation to make narrow fabric tape for the garment industry. Their partnership then became a joint venture and eventually Jaeger bought out the Textiles Tape Corporation in the early 2000s. They officially became Jaeger USA in 2015.
“Integrity is very important to us and quality is number 1 here at Jaeger,” said Wink Faulkner, CEO of Jaeger USA. “Jaeger is growing because of the focus we have applied to it.” Wink mentioned there are a series of processes and steps to manufacturing of what they call “tapes.” “The problem we were having was in the rewinding and slitting operations,” said Faulkner. “As our volumes started to grow that’s where the choke point hit.” That is when he knew they needed help to find a solution.
NH MEP taught several of us the fundamentals of lean, how to apply them and how they benefit the company. Several months later, I still have employees telling me how they look at their process with 'lean eyes' and try to eliminate the waste from those processes. The training sparked a shift in our culture that is slowly spreading to others. This demonstrates the 'long tail' of the training and its benefits. The outside consultant from NH MEP who helped us was engaging and allowed the employees to hear a more objective viewpoint, adding further credibility to the training. We will do more training in the future, for sure!
At his previous company Wink had worked with NH MEP, part of the MEP National Network™, for lean training. After moving over to Jaeger USA, he resumed receiving the marketing emails NH MEP sends to their clients about their upcoming training programs and services to help manufacturers improve their productivity. He then reached out to NH MEP, and with the help of a NH MEP project manager, an on-site lean training and implementation program was developed to meet their needs.
The training mentored and educated employees at the client’s site in principles of lean, value stream mapping and execution of Kaizen events. The hands-on experience with the mentoring role would create the workforce skills necessary to recreate and expand the lean continuous improvement culture throughout the organization.