Plumbing products company saves $1.6 million in three years, adopting innovative tooling designs and manufacturing practices

Sloan Valve Company, a global manufacturer of premier commercial plumbing products, partnered with NOVATION to design and produce a number of high-volume plumbing components. The company was outsourcing urinal flush components to another company, but was not realizing the efficiencies it required. They made the move to NOVATION, transferring all tooling. The NOVATION engineering team made significant improvements to the tooling design, saving over $550,000 per year in raw material costs and part production efficiency.

Sloan also adopted LEAN principals recommended by NOVATION and saved as much as 40 percent in inventory and transaction costs.

CHALLENGE: Sloan purchasing managers had growing concerns about the overall complexity and capabilities of its supply chain for plastic flush components and was looking to put in place a partnership with a stronger supplier that provided a broader array of capabilities and more capacity. A corporate goal was also to consolidate suppliers to increase outsourcing management efficiencies.

SOLUTION: Sloan managers transferred several plastic injection molding tools to NOVATION for production of their urinal flush valve components. NOVATION engineers saw significant advantages to redesigning the tools to eliminate waste. By removing the mold runners, they minimized raw material usage, increased tool throughput and extended tool life. Redesign also eliminated the need for regrind of plastic waste. Sloan realized enough ROI in piece-part savings within a few months to pay for retooling.

“NOVATION is always willing to offer design changes, challenge technologies and prove designs,” said. Steve Bankemper, commodity manager for Sloan. Throughout a three-year period, Sloan enjoyed a $225,000 in savings on two of the 22 parts NOVATION produces for their flush product line.

NOVATION’s chief operating officer also recommended introducing a LEAN KanBan scheduling process to reduce the amount of on-hand component inventory. After evaluation of usage and shipment frequency, a system was developed based on consumption and inventory requirements.“We used to carry four-to-six weeks of on-hand inventory, on our floors and in our warehouse. With the help of NOVATION, we redesigned the packaging and quantities per carton and now they only feed us parts as they are ordered,” stated Bankemper.

Sloan received immediate benefits of reduced warehouse and carrying costs, and improved cash flow. Savings exceeded Sloan’s goal by 200 percent, reducing inventory costs by 40 percent. This also freed up valuable warehouse space and reduced handling. “With material going straight to the floor, we eliminated processes and reduced monthly transactions by 90 percent,” explained Bankemper.

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