Client Profile:

Sheldon Lab Systems Implements Bar Code System

Company Profile:
Sheldon Lab Systems is a major manufacturer of laboratory cabinets for educational institutions. Located in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, the company employs 80 people.

Due to a recent reduction in the number of manufacturers of educational system laboratory cabinet manufacturers in the United States, Sheldon Lab Systems was presented with an opportunity for growth in sales and market share. Sheldon's challenge was to increase their production capacity without reducing their profit margin. In July 2006, Sheldon Labs contacted the Center at Mississippi State University's Industrial Outreach Service (MSU-IOS), a NIST MEP network affiliate, requested help in using Lean manufacturing techniques. The company wanted to reduce costs, improve quality and maintain delivery schedules while increasing the number of cabinets produced per month.

Solution: Center at MSU-IOS project manager, John Moore, and co-op student, Wesley Scott, met with Sheldon Lab's management team and discussed Lean manufacturing concepts that could reduce wasted resources and create more capacity to serve the customers’ needs. It was determined that lack of "in-process" material control was one of their top problems. Time and effort were being wasted looking for missing material. Shipment and production schedules were often disrupted when material was not ready and on time. Scott was assigned the responsibility of designing and deploying a bar code system to help Sheldon Labs track the progress of material as it passed through each production process step. Since implementation of the scanning system, Sheldon Labs has been able to track completed assemblies through the last five departments/operations in the plant. Previously, all tracking was being done manually via shop supervision. In addition to giving Sheldon Labs a higher level of visibility of where jobs were on the floor, the system has also been a tremendous aid in ensuring jobs ship complete. Now that units are being scanned prior to loading onto the truck, scan reports can be run which are reconciled against manual shipping checklist. This allows Sheldon Labs to identify units that may have been missed in loading, and thereby cut costs by reducing short shipments.

* Implemented bar code system to track material. * Saved $5,000 to $10,000 in consultation and development fees. * Increased production by 30 percent. * Reduced labor costs by 15 percent. * Estimated annual savings of $20,000. * Anticipated cost savings of $25,000 in labor, materials and freight. * Improved customer satisfaction.

“ Center at Mississippi State University’s Industrial Outreach Service has been a valuable asset to with assisting manufacturers to stay competitive.”
John Moore
, Project Manager