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Value Stream Mapping and 5S Help Delay a Plant Expansion/Location Expenses


Located in Nashville, Tennessee Safe-T-Cover is the result of years of expertise sparking a new way forward for the waterworks industry. The company began as HydroCowl in 1988 when Dean and Patty Davenport used their over 35 years of experience in underground water and fire sprinkler system construction to begin selling freeze and vandal-resistant enclosures for pumps, water meters, control valves and backflow preventers.

Safe-T-Cover’s team of enclosure professionals brings a combined 80+ years of industry experience and insight recognized by industry-leading organizations, such as ASSE, WASDA, the American Backflow Prevention Association and the American Water Works Association. All Safe-T-Cover aluminum enclosures are ASSE Standard 1060 certified. In addition to the over 50 standard models they have, Safe-T-cover’s enclosures are built to work with valve and pump manufacturers such as Watts, Wilkins, Ames, Febco, Apollo, Cla-Val, Tigerflow, Patterson and PremierFlow. Safe-T-Cover products are made in Nashville, Tennessee, where the company employs approximately 20 people.

The Challenge

Safe-T-Cover contacted the Tennessee Manufacturing Extension Partnership (TMEP), part of the MEP National Network™, for assistance in helping them better understand their production processes. Safe-T-Cover specifically wanted to focus on an analysis of production flow and time studies to assist in the determination of labor costs. The company was seeking improvement opportunities that would improve their overall production processes.

Rickey’s manufacturing experience has been helpful for Safe-T-Cover. Several of his recommendations have been implemented which have helped us to reduce inventory levels, improve plant materials and product workflow, and reduce nonproductive activities.  These changes have also provided us with much needed room in the plant which allows us to delay a plant expansion or relocation.

— Craig Harmon, President

MEP's Role

TMEP was able to utilize CARES grant funding to help the company by facilitating two sessions of lean manufacturing overview training for Safe-T-Cover managers and supervisors. The training was conducted over a two-day period and included a high-level overview of the lean manufacturing tools with hands on activities to help the participants see the benefits. The training included a heavy focus on value stream Mapping and 5S and participants mapped out some of their own processes to identify value added and non-value added steps. This also helped the team better understand their material flow, processing times, and inventory levels. The project continued with several days of onsite facilitation of 5S and material flow improvements across several work centers.  TMEP continues to work with Safe-T-Cover to implement additional 5S improvements, provide equipment cost justification assistance, and develop a plant layout.

Created August 4, 2022