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02/15/05 Roplast Industries Oroville becomes first Sierra College CACT Lean Demonstration Center.
Roplast Industries Oroville becomes first
Sierra College CACT Lean Demonstration Center.
   

Company transforms its operation
and now opens the door to share its success.

Roplast Industries was founded in 1990 in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to manufacture environmentally friendly, high quality, low density polyethylene bags. Roplast concentrates on fine, quality print and strong film. They print exclusively with environmentally friendly water based inks. They produce a wide range of bags used in numerous retail and industrial applications. They are suppliers to well known high end retailers such as Macy’s and Eddy Bauer and can provide many custom features such as draw string, loop handle and zipper bags. They also have many food packaging industry clients and make products such as re-seal bags used for tortillas and breathable bags used for produce.
   
The Transformation
   
During 2003 Roplast Industries decided to change the way they implemented process improvements. They where trained and mentored through the Lean Enterprise implementation process by Total Excellence in Manufacturing (TEiM), the Sierra College CACT’s lean implementation partner. The results have been impressive and the company continues to make improvements on a regular basis. The results so far include:
   
   
  • Reduced set up times by an average of 44%.
• Increased production capacity by 400,000 pounds with no increase in   labor costs
• A quicker response time to clients needs
• Reduced impact of inventory risk.
• Reduced scrap rates
• Improved morale from a staff who now feel empowered
   
   
Chris Mann the VP of Operations at Roplast characterized a Lean Enterprise this way. “The success of a Lean Enterprise comes from the subtle difference that, while thoroughly supported at the senior level, the actual process improvement ideas are first generated and then implemented where the rubber meets the road. That is, by the staff on the production floor or within the administrative area wherever the change needs to take place.”
He attributed the success of the process to the fact that they followed a plan to quickly bring all the employees up to a level of knowledge so they would all be able to support the changes being implemented. “By first training all the staff, and then developing a core of additionally trained people within Roplast, we were able to get a critical mass of understanding and support for the process” said Chris. Roplast is now operating as a Lean Enterprise carrying out regular Kaizen event,s which have become the system to implement a continuous improvement regime throughout the company.

The management at Roplast is happy to open its doors to others to show how they have successfully implemented lean. They know that the journey to become a Lean Enterprise will be different for all companies and they are not giving away secrets that will hurt them. “If California businesses become more sustainable and profitable then all business will prosper, and they will hopefully use Roplast products either directly or indirectly through increased sales” said Robert Bateman the CEO at Roplast. “We also understand the role of the colleges, their partners, and want to be able to give something back to the community” said Robert.

   
Featured here are members of the Roplast Core team and one of the Kaizen teams.

Kaizen events are the system used to implement the continuous improvement regime.

Picture of Roplast core team members
     
   
To visit and see the Roplast Lean Enterprise contact Sandra Scott the CACT Director at Sierra College or for information on how to become a Lean Enterprise Call David Jones at TEiM.
     
    The purpose of the Centers for Applied Competitive Technologies is to support the mission of the California Community College’s Economic and Workforce Development Program by assisting California manufacturers to remain competitive in changing markets and a global economy. Centers for Applied Competitive Technologies State funding for CACT provided by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Economic and Workforce Development program. Additional funding assistance provided by local colleges and industry partners.
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Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies and Economic and Workforce Development
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Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT)
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