Thursday, January 10, 2008
Rell visits Peter Paul to check up on its progress
By SCOTT WHIPPLE
NEW BRITAIN — Gov. M. Jodi Rell got a crash course in high-speed manufacturing, plus an award from Peter Paul Electronics for initiatives that have enabled the family-owned company to compete in the global economy.
At Peter Paul Electronics “change” is a positive word. On Wednesday, the 60-year-old business celebrated changes it has made with a visit from Rell, Mayor Timothy Stewart and other dignitaries.
The governor received an award for her initiatives which have kept the company ahead of its overseas competitors. Peter Paul recently benefited from a state-funded Aerospace & Defense Initiative Program. The program was launched in 2005 with the goal of strengtehning the state’s aerospace and defense sectors.
“The better positioned these suppliers are to snatch up contracts the more likely they are to expand and hire more people,” Rell said.
Operations manager Michael Mangiafico II said Peter Paul has managed to increase its competitiveness through federal funds that have made possible advanced processes such as lean manufacturing and kaizen.
“Lean” is a business system that relies on less human effort, less space, less capital and less time. “Kaizen,” which means “improvement” in Japanese, is a system that eliminates waste and activities that add cost without adding value.
Peter Paul now competes successfully by maintaining smaller inventory and filling customer orders while eliminating wasted effort.
Human resources manager Judi Spreda told The Herald that in the last four years the company has added a second shift and increased employment by 20 percent. Through training from Capital Workforce Partners, Institute of Technology and Business Development, the Connecticut Department of Labor, and Aerospace and Defense Initiative, the company can now meet demands for custom orders.
Chief engineer Mark Mangiafico acknowledged that traditional workforce methods had previously made it difficult to compete. However, implementation of lean technology cut lead time while decreasing inventory levels.
Signs on the plant floor underscore the emphasis on change. One sign reads, “You’re responsible for your own actions,” another: “Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
Rell joked that every time she comes to New Britain, Stewart tells her, “Nice to meet you, governor,” and has his hand out.
“Walking with him on the plant tour he’s like a proud papa.”
Michael Mangiafico said Peter Paul actually ships products to China’s mainland. “We’re selling to them, not buying from them,” he said.
And the message to other small business exporters?
“You need to embrace lean fully, not dab at it,” Mangiafico said. “It needs to be the framework that improves your entire business, and it has to start from the top.”CNSC