More Than an Address Change for MacLean Curtis, North Carolina

The MacLean Curtis plant in Cornelius, NC has gone through tremendous growth since 2011, filling every nook and cranny with equipment.  As business increased, we knew we could no longer fit into the 51K sq. ft. facility we now occupy.

We have been planning, first looking at expanding the current site and finally deciding to build a larger facility in nearby Mooresville, NC. This time has given us a chance to reflect on what we are doing at our current site and evaluating practices or methods that are necessary due to limited space and older methods where new approaches are a possibility.

We don’t want to move down the road, and keep doing things as we always have, so we have reviewed a number of areas to benchmark and ultimately improve. As an example, we visited the Savanna, IL plant to discuss and observe what they did with their new site to gain insight on what they’d do differently. This has been invaluable, as the lessons learned are still fresh in everyone’s minds.

Similarly, we sought the regular assistance from our Buffalo plant where two plants were consolidated into one 150,000 sq. ft. facility 10 years ago. Input into the improvements that Buffalo was able to make helped us understand what items can be easily overlooked during a move.

We also garnered many new ideas, which are being put to use, by formally asking our entire workforce for three ideas about how the new site could improve.

In September, we had a Lean Advisor visit our site to facilitate a lean activity with our support personnel, many of whom work directly on the floor. This generated numerous items, many building upon ideas already collected. We will be accelerating our Lean Awareness training to gather more ideas and prepare our team to support changes coming ahead of us.

There are already more than 100 improvements that will improve the health, safety and comfort of our employees, and have direct operational improvements by eliminating waste.

We are well on our way to addressing identified areas for improvement.  One area we are working on is our chip crushing/oil separation process.  Our multi-spindle process uses cutting oil that is valuable and must be recycled. In parallel, we are participating in a university project to look at a different method to separate and recycle oil.

We expect to take occupancy in June of 2016 and are working toward a safe and productive future.