Our facility in Cudahy, WI recently implemented a new style to their pallet repair line in an innovative move to improve quality and efficiency. Millwood, Inc. started testing the new set-up in its Alburtis and Leetsdale, PA operations with great success and are now looking to update even more locations.
“The main focus was to increase throughput for the guys and improve pallet quality,” said Cudahy Plant Manager Antonio Reyes.
Previously, the pallet repair line in Cudahy required 12 team members. This change is increasing efficiency by facilitating the same output of pallets with less team members available or employed at the facility.
“The design for the new line was created by Regional Operations Manager George Ortt,” said Vice President – Operations Brad Arnold. “George has engineered several updates to our facilities including a remover to create more efficient processes.”
With the old repair line, a team member was responsible for each aspect of the pallet repair process, which includes removing broken pieces, replacing components of the pallet and checking the safety and quality of each pallet.
“The new line allows our team members to become specialized in a specific part of the process, rather than attempting to do it all at once,” Reyes said.
Because team members are able to focus on a single area of the pallet repair process, they are more effective by focusing on their strengths.
For example, someone who is better at removing broken boards can focus in that singular task without needing to struggle with the additional parts of the process they may not feel as comfortable with or capable of doing.
The throughput remains consistent even with a smaller staff, which in turn increases the pallet repair team’s piece-rate wages. The new wrap line also saves money by reducing recruitment and retention
costs that many labor-intensive companies struggle to meet.
“We’re able to pay employees more and make their jobs easier,” Reyes said. While the new line may not be the right fit for all 25 of Millwood’s pallet repair operations – it does have a larger footprint and requires a larger space – it is certainly a success where it has been implemented.
“We will continue to improve and update our processes to reinforce employee and customer satisfaction and look forward to seeing which of our facilities will be next to adapt without sacrificing
quality or quantity,” Reyes said. “We want to jump on those opportunities.” Reyes said.