Founded in 1946, Berks County-based East Penn Manufacturing Company is the maker of the industry-leading Deka brand of batteries. The company’s lead-acid batteries and wire and cable products are known throughout the world–as are its battery accessories for the industrial, automotive, commercial, marine, stationary and specialty markets.
“MRC helps us think strategically when it comes to quality and continuous improvement.” – Mike Capozzi, Vice President, East Penn Manufacturing
An independent and progressive company committed to the future, East Penn owns and operates the largest single-site battery manufacturing facility in the industry –3.5 million square feet under roof on a 520 acre site. The company’s plants feature state-of-the-art computer monitoring and control systems, making it the most technologically advanced manufacturer in the battery industry. East Penn is an aggressive job creator in the Lehigh Valley region. Last month, the company announced plans to construct a $50 million, 458,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The new plant is expected to add 400 workers to the over 6,000 East Penn already employs in Pennsylvania.
East Penn’s many customers rely on the company’s products every day, whether for business use or their own personal vehicles. East Penn, in turn, takes that trust seriously. The company is absolutely dedicated to that every piece that leaves its facility is ready to provide years of trouble-free service. In practice, that means East Penn is on the cutting edge of continuous improvement and quality management programs. ISO 9001. ISO/TS 16949. ISO 14001. FMEA. Lean. Six Sigma. If there’s a proven way to improve operations and deliver higher-quality products more efficiently, you can bet that East Penn has explored or adopted it. Of course, researching continuous improvement strategies, finding the right practitioners and making the necessary arrangements takes plenty of time. And that’s not a luxury East Penn – a rapidly growing manufacturer – enjoys. The company needed a partner who could advise and facilitate its robust continuous improvement strategy – and do it affordably and reliably. They found that partner in Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), a nonprofit organization partially funded by the NIST-MEP program and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development.
East Penn’s first experience with MRC came in 2010, after the Lyon Station company found it imperative to partner with a new continuous improvement strategy provider. Many of the other alternative vendors were part of larger training conglomerates that didn’t meet the company’s specialized needs. Finding the right match financially and strategically became of extreme importance to East Penn. They found that match in MRC, which immediately impressed East Penn with its experience, capabilities and domain expertise. The Bethlehem-based nonprofit fast became East Penn’s exclusive vendor for quality and continuous improvement services. “From that point on, we’ve developed a beneficial relationship with MRC,” said Mike Capozzi, East Penn’s Vice President, Quality and Continuous Improvement. “They provide us with a full suite of continuous improvement consulting and training services. In fact, we haven’t had to go outside MRC since we got involved with them. They provide a trusted single point of contact for quality and continuous improvement – that’s immensely valuable to us.” MRC has provided East Penn with a plethora of quality and continuous improvement services. They include:
- Ongoing Six Sigma, Black Belt, Lean, Hoshin, MMOG and FMEA training, including monthly meetings with active Black Belts
- Arrangements for local ISO/TS internal auditing, saving East Penn thousands vs. travel to a centralized auditing hub
- A successful nationwide search for an advanced product quality planning (APQP) trainer
Thanks in part to MRC, East Penn’s quality and continuous improvement efforts have never been smoother. Ongoing projects and initiatives are handled with care, and when East Penn needs something new, MRC is the first – and only – place they call. “Our quality and continuous improvement programs are, first and foremost, driven by data,” Capozzi said. “Data drives most of the decisions we make. Thus, we expect our Black Belts to be top-notch. MRC has been very, very informative for them – and for the company as a whole. They’re up to date with not just the technology, but also the newest methodology. “MRC helps us think strategically when it comes to quality and continuous improvement.”
- MRC provides a full suite of continuous improvement & quality services
- MRC provides a trusted single point of contact as a dedicated training resource
- MRC is the right match financially and strategically