MRC - Manufacturers Resource Center

 

Applied Separations

 

Applied Separations is an Allentown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of supercritical fluid, water-free dye systems, solid phase extraction consumables, and DNA-free devices, as well as a provider of contract filling of filters, packings, and sorbents.

“MRC’s assistance has been a critical part of our growth in process efficiency, skills enhancement, technical abilities, and other administrative and operational areas.”
– Alfonso Liu, COO

Situation
Applied Separations faced specific training needs in order to grow its understanding of Lean implementation, as well as developing supervisory capabilities among several individuals who had been promoted from within the organization. The company also required assistance with the selection and implementation of an ERP system, and their controller (a CPA), sought continuing education credit from participation in our CFO Forum. Finally, Applied Separations hoped to migrate their equipment from software-based to a Programmable Logic Control (PLC-based) platform. This change would enable the integration of larger equipment in the future, and they anticipated a need for those in technical roles to more easily work with third-party contractors during integration discussions.

Solution

MRC’s Gene Kaschak led Applied Separations’ Lean implementation, and the company is currently red-tagging items not needed to streamline the manufacturing environment for its consumable business. MRC also assisted in engaging a third-party consultant for the ERP effort, and Applied Separations went on to select Epicor as their new system. “Their expertise proved to be an effective supplement to our own,” says Alfonso Liu, Applied Separations’ COO. “Their coaches are helping us section by section. From customer service to accounts payable and accounts receivable, we now rely on Epicor for invoicing, inventory control, and more.”

With regard to supervisor training, MRC coordinated a number of sessions to expand on best practices and help new supervisors increase their awareness of appropriate employee interactions. The CFO Forum, meanwhile, gave the controller—a veteran of the service sector—an improved understanding of the ways manufacturing companies approach CFO duties. “She took the opportunity to talk to other CPAs and CFOs and bring that experience back to us,” Liu says. And with half of the PLC training under their belts thus far, Applied Separations’ technical staff is eager to resume the training when they are eligible for WEDnet funding once again.

PREP Partner Involvement
MRC involved Career Link Services, as well as Ben Franklin Technology Partners for funding assistance.

Results

  • “As a result of our work with MRC, we have saved more than $50K thus far,” Alfonso Liu says.
  • In just a few weeks of Lean Implementation work, the company already sees a difference with their instrument manufacturing efforts.
  • Kaschak helped with the third-floor setup, moved inventory to a more easily accessible location, and guided the organization of tools and components to speed up the production process.
  • Consumable production, meanwhile, has focused on the clean room setup charts, reporting, and streamlining inefficient processes.
  • Following the Supervisor Training, new supervisors have dramatically improved their ability to handle situations directly and involve upper management less often.
  • The ERP project is still in the pre-implementation phase, but Epicor should be online in early September, and Applied Separations expects to realize measurable savings through the resulting efficiency.
  • Discussions of tax reform and other topics in the CFO Forum are already benefiting the company’s bottom line, and PLC Training has them considering the purchase of a PLC kit to begin studying the ways it can be integrated into their equipment capabilities.