Watson Invests in Lean Manufacturing as Growth Strategy

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Watson has successfully implemented lean manufacturing in its two Connecticut facilities.

Watson Inc. Kaizen Team

Watson values an engaged workforce, with everyone involved in making Watson one of the best companies to work for.

Watson has successfully implemented lean manufacturing in its two Connecticut facilities. The journey started in January of 2014. Watson began researching Lean Manufacturing, to enable the company to continue to grow and add capacity in its West Haven and Orange, Connecticut locations. The company wanted to continue to grow in its current location without adding additional building space, due to restrictions on expansions. Watson was already running three shifts on many of the production lines. Lean was seen as a way to make additional capacity available, while remaining within the existing building footprint.

Watson selected Leanovations as a partner to instill the necessary skills and cultural behaviors to fully develop and implement a Lean to Green organization. Leanovations’ mission is to promote, teach, and coach a Lean to Green culture that focuses on the processes and innovations that create economic growth and jobs, while fostering environmental improvement. We refer to this as having a positive impact on 3-P’s: the People, Planet, and Profits.

Over the past year, Watson sent 26 employees to a four-day training class to earn their Lean Leadership Certification. This is a significant number of employees, over 10% of the company’s Connecticut-based work force. To date, Watson has held 14 Kaizen events, which involved a total of 11 departments and over 70 employees. Watson values an engaged workforce, with everyone involved in making Watson one of the best companies to work for.

The Lean Manufacturing Kaizen events last five days, during which cross-functional teams of employees work on the business together to find opportunities for improvement. At the conclusion of the Kaizen event, the employees present their findings to management and explain the changes which have been put into place, and the benefits of these changes.

Not only have the Kaizen events and Lean manufacturing provided enormous benefit to the company through reduced waste, increased capacity, and improved profitability, but they have also provided the employees an opportunity to learn more about these processes, be empowered to make positive change, and grow personally through the process.

Watson is now included on the Leanovations class tours. During the tour, employees from other companies have the opportunity to see the improvements put into place at Watson by the employee teams. The employee teams are given the opportunities to present their findings and process improvements to the visiting class members.

About Leanovations:
Headquartered in Plainville, Connecticut, USA and with an Office Annex in Milan, Italy; Leanovations is an internationally recognized consulting firm specializing in Lean Operational Excellence and Innovation. We focus on assisting our clients to realize their potential for profitable growth through the voice of their customer (VOC), the voice of the business (VOB), the voice of their employees (VOE), and the voice of the process (VOP). You can learn more about Leanovations on their website at the following address: http://www.leanovations.com/index.html

About Watson:
Watson is one of the highest quality suppliers of products and services geared towards enhancing human health and nutrition around the world. We are a leader in developing quality products and innovative ingredient systems for the food and supplement industries. Expertise in custom nutrient premixes, microencapsulation, agglomeration, micronizing, spray drying, and film technology allow us to develop unique formulations and products using Watson-manufactured, value-added ingredients. Watson has manufacturing facilities in both Connecticut and Illinois. Watson is committed to continual improvement and to being recognized as one of the best places to work. For more information on Watson see http://www.watson-inc.com.

Watson Inc.
Moira Watson, V.P. Marketing & Communications

Company info:
Watson Foods Co., Inc. DBA Watson Inc.

  • Corporate headquarters: 301 Heffernan Drive, West Haven CT 06516
  • CEO: James T. Watson
  • Website: http://www.watson-inc.com
  • Employees: 280

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Blake Powers

Moira Watson
Watson Inc.
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