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Roplast demonstrates productivity gains to local manufacturers
Sierra College Center for Competitive Technologies opens demonstration site

ROCKLIN - Sierra College
Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) has partnered with Oroville-based Roplast to establish a Demonstration Site where Northern Californian manufacturers can see the results of applying Lean Manufacturing Principles. Roplast, a manufacturer of environmentally friendly, high quality, low density polyethylene bags increased production capacity by 400,000 pounds using Lean Manufacturing techniques. In addition to the demonstration site, the CACT offers workshops and training to enhance manufacturers' productivity, and support economic development in the region.

Roplast agreed to open its doors to other manufacturers so that they could see for themselves how "lean Principles" have been applied, explained Sierra CACT director, Sandra Scott. "It is easier to envision how the Lean concepts might apply when you can see the results operating at a similar facility," said Scott.

Lean Manufacturing Principles are a way of reviewing processes, identifying bottle necks, analyzing production patterns, and looking for ways to simplify, save time and avoid waste. Roplast was able to reduce set up times an average of 44%. Set up time refers to changes in the settings and equipment to produce a different size or type of bag. For instance, Roplast supplies high end retailers with bags that have custom features such as draw string or loop handles. This time savings allowed Roplast to produce more bags, much faster, without additional labor costs.

To become a "Lean Enterprise" takes commitment from all levels of the company explained Chris Mann, Vice President of Operations at Roplast. "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 implemented where the rubber meets the road. That is, by the staff on the production floor or within the administrative area wherever the changes needs to take place."

Manufacturers interested in learning more about Lean Principles and arranging a visit to Roplast can call Sandra Scott at the Sierra College CACT, 916-781-6244. Tours for groups up to 25 can be accommodated by appointment on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. As part of the tour, Roplast staff and management are available to answer questions about the implementation process.

Contact: Sue Michaels
Sierra College Marketing/Public Relations
(916) 781-0411, (916) 789-2878(fax)

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(916) 660-7801
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