Bracalente Manufacturing Group (BMG) is a family-owned and operated, contract manufacturing solutions provider based in Trumbauersville, Pennsylvania. The company’s three generations of manufacturing experience, diverse skills, expertise, and use of advanced manufacturing and production systems enable it to provide customers with machined parts and assemblies of the highest quality. And with a blend of manufacturing sources from its Pennsylvania and Suzhou facilities, Bracalente delivers cost-effective, timely production services.
“When you look at other resources available to manufacturers like Bracalente, not all consultants are capable. MRC actively selects staff members who are knowledgeable, and they can actually help us execute. It’s a multiyear program—we’ve been at it for 2.5 years, and we plan to continue with them long into the future.”
– Robert Bean, Quality Manager
Bracalente is in the midst of an ongoing—and in-depth—business process re-engineering effort. One key element of this process includes aligning the skills of long-time employees and newcomers. Moreover, after years as a stable entity with a relatively mature workforce, Bracalente has found itself in a cultural transition. As some of the existing staffers near the end of their careers, the company faces the need to bring in a new, younger base of talent. This transition requires a focused effort to improve processes as part of a larger, ongoing Lean manufacturing project.
Bracalente recently turned to MRC for assistance developing a problem-solving culture, both helping with organizational problem solving and helping teams work through the solution process.
“Our first step was to identify the most critical improvements for the year,” says MRC Senior Strategy Manager Mike Withka. “We then chartered cross-functional teams with specific performance goals for their assigned improvements. Finally, we conducted problem-solving training and other Lean training, as dictated by the situation.”
“MRC typically provides us with multiple solutions across a few dimensions,” says Bracalente Quality Manager Robert Bean. “For process re-engineering, they act as our Lean consultant on the product process side. Our process re-engineering efforts always follow current best Lean practices; the MRC team sits with us, assists in our analysis of the process, and together we decide what Lean engineering tools should be applied.”
“Our role is that of a coach,” Withka says. “We primarily help Bracalente staff members—whether they are new or long-standing—to understand problems, describe them, and figure out how to resolve them.
“This work is manifest through five or six team activities, ranging from strategies to more effectively manage the supply chain, to accurate management of inventory from multiple locations, and reducing manufacturing steps on the shop floor to increase productivity and quality.”
One setup reduction in particular involved in-depth improvement for a machining center dedicated to a specific client.
“We coached Bracalente associates on documenting and analyzing their own work. After reviewing video of themselves on the job, the team identified roadblocks that affected their setup performance on the equipment,” Withka says. “With the goal and issues laid bare, the team designed and executed improvements to reach a new target condition for the setup on this equipment—which is the essence of daily problem solving.”
- Reduced a 16-hour setup to just 4-6 hours for a machining center dedicated to a specific client.
- Increased throughput, reduced inventory carrying costs, reduced overtime costs, and improved customer delivery satisfaction.
- Improved on-time delivery, enhanced product quality, and improved Bracalente’s bottom line.