Quick Cable, based in Franksville, Wisconsin, is a privately-owned company that develops, manufactures, and sells battery and electrical connectors, cable, tools and related products for commercial and industrial equipment. They are the leader in the North American market due to a strong focus on quality, innovation and customer service.
“Manufacturing processes that use resources efficiently and minimize environmental impact enhance the competitiveness and profitability of our business,” said Robert Hoganson, vice president of manufacturing for Quick Cable. “That’s why the Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI) was such a great fit for our company”. In addition, Quick Cable’s market opportunities have expanded due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, including batteries, so the PSI program timing was perfect.
The Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability Initiative
PSI is a state-funded program to accelerate the adoption of sustainability strategies by small and midsize manufacturers. The goal is to help participants reduce costs, gain competitive advantage and minimize environmental impacts. PSI brings together a team of energy, environmental, logistics and lean experts to work with manufacturers to identify and implement improvements. Projects are prioritized based on business needs, fast payback and high ROI.
A diagnostic of the company’s use of resources and manufacturing processes revealed that the best opportunity for savings and resource conservation was in process optimization. The die cast operation (where metal is injected into molds to create battery connectors) was selected as an area of focus. A Value Stream Map (a visual representation of the manufacturing process) revealed that through-put could be greatly increased, raw material could be conserved and waste could be reduced by modifying the manufacturing process to eliminate grinding.
“The existing process involved laborious hand work,” said David York, senior manufacturing specialist for WMEP. “Battery connectors were removed from the die, and workers removed excess metal from each part with a grinder, then the center hole was drilled in each connector. This process was slow and also created a lot a lot of waste that was either sent to recycling or taken to a landfill.”
Using the funds from the PSI program to install a new trim process (trimming shears off excess metal from cast parts), Quick Cable was able to recover the metal and re-use it. This reduced the amount of raw materials required and eliminated waste destined for the landfill, and reduced the amount of energy used because the grinders and drill press were no longer needed. In addition, the trim process expedited production by relieving a bottleneck, allowing employees to be deployed to other roles in the facility.
“Quick Cable has really benefitted from the Profitable Sustainability Initiative”, said Hoganson. “We’ve reduced waste in the value stream by 14%, reduced the amount of raw material costs by 2%, and increased throughput by 20%. I estimate our immediate payback for the PSI project to be less than 6 months. In addition, we plan to conduct a Value Stream Map on other product lines and I expect to see similar results.”
Quick Cable Results with PSI:
- Reduced waste in the value stream by 14%,
- Reduced raw material costs by 2%
- Increased throughput by 20%
- Payback for the program: 6 months