Optimize operations by moving off paper-based processes, increasing staff engagement, and streamlining compliance.
Deployed the QAD Redzone Connected Workforce Solution at two plants and implemented new processes.
T.H.E.M. (Technical Help in Engineering and Marketing) is a second-generation, New Jersey-based family business that is thriving in the ultra-competitive industry of contract packaging. According to CEO Neil Kozarksy, a major reason for the company’s ongoing growth is tied to a founding principle of the company.
“We view packaging as a strategic weapon for our clients,” Mr. Kozarsky said.
Back in 1996, T.H.E.M. entered into a partnering relationship with Japan-based Sanko Machinery Co. to bring Stick Packs to the North American market. T.H.E.M. worked with global food and beverage brands to reinvent low- and non-calorie powdered drink mixes such as Crystal Light, Propel, and 4C. “We supported our clients by providing the materials, technology, and packaging machinery to launch and mass-commercialize a new business model around the single-serve format enabled by Stick Packs,” added Mr. Kozarsky.
T.H.E.M. has since ridden the wave of single-serve and single-use packaging to even greater success, partnering with brands to deliver new products that support consumers’ desire to eat on the go and dispense their own daily supplements anywhere conveniently. According to Mr. Kozarksy, “Consumers are looking for products that are hygienic, pre-dosed, easy to open, and tamper-resistant. We’re able to deliver on that.”
Continues Mr. Kozarksy, “Brands are a profit center. Everything else is a cost center.” That philosophy has influenced the way T.H.E.M. does business. T.H.E.M. works with brands, technology companies, material and label stock providers, and others to develop and qualify new solutions up to 60% faster than competitors and deliver better measurable results in the marketplace. In addition, T.H.E.M. seeks to optimize its own operations: reducing risks, increasing throughput, and improving product quality.
The T.H.E.M. leadership team began searching for a new solution that would help the company improve operational processes. T.H.E.M. packages products for food, consumer packaged goods, and drug manufacturers at two plants. About 80 full-time and 300 temporary workers oversee 13 assembly lines, packaging liquids, powders, and pharmaceuticals.
“We wanted to move off paper-based processes and increase operational efficiencies,” says Amy Sena, Vice President of Quality Control. “Our supervisors and operators were tracking critical production data by hand, including how many sticks and cases we produced per hour, our yield loss, and product quality. As a result, answering customer questions about production and conducting mock recalls could take two to three days.”
While the leadership team looked at a range of solutions, only QAD Redzone was able to deliver on the promise of 100% paperless processes. “Our inspectors and auditors expect a certain level of compliance. We need to be able to access critical data in seconds, not days,” says Ms. Sena. She had launched QAD Redzone at a previous employer and understood the solution’s capabilities. In addition, a trusted partner and customer also recommended QAD Redzone. As a result, the T.H.E.M. leadership made the decision to deploy the QAD Redzone Connected Workforce Solution.
QAD Redzone works with all of its customers to achieve five measurable Lean journey goals during an intensive 90-day sprint. These goals include:
T.H.E.M. committed to this path, deploying QAD Redzone at its two plants and working with coaches to implement new processes. As a cloud-based solution, QAD Redzone automatically collects real-time data about production and waste directly from production lines, making it instantly available to teams. In addition, teams can share tips and strategies for improving processes with each other and across functions.
Our coaches were determined to help us succeed. They know that getting our frontline workers comfortable with QAD Redzone and paperless processes was critical to driving lasting change.”Amy Sena
The coaches met with workers one-on-one and in teams, helping them adopt new processes and conducting mock scenarios where staff practiced new skills. Teams are able to review QAD Rezone data and messages on overhead TVs, iOS iPads placed at workstations, and on their iPhones, making it easier to respond to changing production developments.
The Connected Workforce Solution also provides real-time language translation capabilities, enabling all workers to participate equally. At T.H.E.M., that means providing content in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
After 90 days, T.H.E.M. drove measurable business and operational results, including:
“Before, our teams had to weigh products and log data manually,” says Ms. Sena. “Now, workers can place products in Bluetooth-enabled scales, which automatically upload data to QAD Redzone. It’s a huge time saver for teams and also shows which workers are doing their checks at the right time.” Workers missed fewer than 3% of all checks and were able to rectify all of them using the QAD Redzone app.
“Our customers are vigilant about product quality. We are too. Our processes have just gotten a lot more efficient since deploying QAD Redzone,” says Ms. Sena.
It’s great to see how excited our workforce is to use QAD Redzone. It’s made production a fun, challenging team experience. It’s also helped reduce tension between teams, because production, quality, maintenance, and safety are now all on the same page.”Amy Sena
Supervisors recognize great ideas and performance by offering digital high fives and good catches to staff using QAD Redzone. In addition, QAD Redzone encourages companies to create a culture of celebration, recognizing workers at digital and in-person town halls and keeping motivation high.
The T.H.E.M. leadership team couldn’t be happier about what they’ve been able to achieve thus far and plan to extend gains by deploying two new modules in the near future.
The Reliability module will help the T.H.E.M. maintenance team implement paperless processes and identify and fix issues before they harm production. Meanwhile, the Learning module will enable T.H.E.M. to streamline worker onboarding and train new hires on equipment, by providing instructional videos in their own language. QAD Redzone timestamps video sessions and captures worker signatures, providing proof that T.H.E.M. can use with regulators to demonstrate safety compliance. The Learning module will also help existing workers progress their careers, by providing a real-time digital skills matrix and learning packs staff can use to master the most in-demand skills.
In addition, T.H.E.M is using QAD Redzone data to work with suppliers and gain access to single lots of material, to reduce changeovers. When asked about their favorite aspect of QAD Redzone, Ms. Sena says “efficiency” and Mr. Kozarksy says “communication.” Both are recommending the solution to others in their industry.
In fact, says Ms. Sena, “When we show our auditors what we can do with QAD Redzone, they tell us they’re going to recommend it to their other customers.”