Southeast Michigan Success Story

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Saint Clair Systems, Inc. Recognized For Lean Manufacturing Expertise

“The waste associated with excess inventory and motion shows up in clutter and in work-in-process. Inefficiency doesn’t show well." - J. Makarewicz

In their July 15, 2010 edition of eManufactLine, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is highlighting Saint Clair Systems, Inc. of Washington MI as a Success Story. “I know they work with a lot of companies across the state of Michigan and I know they have had a lot of successes. I am flattered that they chose to highlight our team,” said Saint Clair Systems President, C. Robert Gladstone. “Everybody has worked hard and contributed and I think you can tell when you walk through our facility.”

As you walk through the facility, the first you thing you notice is the cleanliness and organization. Gladstone credits Jeff Makarewicz, the Manufacturing Manager and his Manufacturing Team. “Jeff knew that if we were going to expand our markets, we were going to be talking to several companies that did not know anything about us. We all knew that first impressions mean so much and we wanted to leave potential customers convinced that we would make a great partner. Jeff understood that his team was becoming a significant part of the Sales Process.”

“I know it shows well,” said Makarewicz, “but it shows well because we are operating more efficiently than we have in the past. The waste associated with excess inventory and motion shows up in clutter and in work-in-process. Inefficiency doesn’t show well.” A quick scan of the company Performance Scorecard shows that they are operating more efficiently. Inventory Turns have almost doubled, Vendor On-Time Delivery has increased from 59% to 92% and Manufacturing Cycle Time has decreased from 20 days to 8 days. “We still have much to do but it has been exciting to see the progress,” said Makarewicz.

“One thing that gets missed too often in a lean implementation is culture,” said Gladstone. “MMTC made us aware of that so we partnered with Joe du Lac of Strategis Lean Management Advisors. When you talk to Joe, you know you are talking to somebody different,” Gladstone continued. “Joe worked closely with Jeff Makarewicz until we were certain that we could continue on our own. We were determined not to have a failed implementation. Joe’s transfer of knowledge and leadership helped us make it through an otherwise difficult 2009.”

The final impression when you leave the facility is one of a company confident in its ability to face new challenges. Saint Clair Systems has overcome the difficulties associated with the automotive industry, the threat of “low cost” countries and the effects of the economy on Capital Equipment purchases. “We are focused on the right things,” said Gladstone. “We have reestablished our growth pattern and are excited about the opportunities that are in front of us.”

With over 3,600 systems in operation globally, Saint Clair Systems, Inc. is the world leader in Process Temperature and Viscosity Control Systems. Since 1990, customers from Fortune 500 giants to niche-market start-ups have entrusted Saint Clair Systems (SCS) with the design, production, installation, and service of their fluid-temperature and viscosity-control systems. Customers rely on SCS’ expertise in temperature control for such applications as automotive and industrial paint, sealer and adhesive dispensing, machine coolant, coil-coating and a variety of processes in the food and beverage industry. Through patented technologies and processes, SCS delivers accurate temperature and viscosity control through all phases of fluid delivery. Their customers see reductions in scrap, rejects, solvent adds, labor, and harmful volatile organic compound emissions.

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James Hitchcock
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