Ideation sessions play a crucial role in the innovation process and lead to the culmination of new products, processes, and a sense of collaboration within the business. MAGNET often utilizes these techniques to help companies achieve growth through creativity, and a recent engagement with plastic molding company Mar-Bal Inc. was no exception.
Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Chagrin Falls, Mar-Bal manufactures BMC Thermoset composite products and customized materials. The company wanted to understand more about the ideation process as well as the overarching theme of driving innovation throughout their business, which resulted in the first Mar-Bal Innovation Summit.
Held at the MAGNET facility in downtown Cleveland, the two-day workshop featured MAGNET growth advisors and engineers engaging with key members of the Mar-Bal team, helping them foster ideas that could potentially streamline operations and bring large-scale improvements to the company.
“There has to be a process,” said Ron Pauff, Mar-Bal’s Director of Global Marketing. “This ideation summit allowed us the opportunity to step back from our daily lives and come to an environment where we could spend time understanding the needs of the customers.”
“It’s kind of a blend of structure and free flowing imagination. There are rules, and there are processes and a cadence and a timing to keep the event moving forward but it really is about exchanging ideas,” said Materials Engineering Director Mark Imbrogno. “No matter how simple or complex they might be, the outcomes are good solid concepts to drive innovation through the pipeline.”
Also in attendance were Mar-Bal President Scott Balog and Dean Talip, who currently serves as Reinforcements Product Manager for national manufacturer North American Composites.
“The ideation session was great,” Talip said. “I don’t know if it was the time frame, the music, or the procedure, but the way it brings out different ideas is amazing. It made me start to think in ways I never have before.”
“We have worked with MAGNET for a number of years on a number of different projects. We really enjoyed this,” Balog said. “There was a lot of good follow-up that came out of what we did, and we are going to be using this as strategic planning as well as advanced product development processes.”
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Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.
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