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  The NIST Manufacturing Extension Program for Kentucky

Advantage KY News

What Have You Done Lately - Specifically?

Advantage Kentucky Alliance has given the total dollar impacts of NIST’s MEP Program across the nation.  “KY GraphicWe have also shown you how we have saved money and grown companies across the state of Kentucky.  Now let’s talk turkey.  You might ask us “what have you done lately – specifically?”  To answer this valid request, we will give you an example of how AKA has helped one company with a project in the state of Kentucky.  That may be a lot easier to relate to.

Today we will discuss how Advantage Kentucky Alliance has specifically helped one Kentucky Manufacturer (Plastic Products Company, Inc.) improve their operations and through-put using the principals of Training Within Industry (TWI) and more specifically Job Instruction (JI), Job Methods (JM) and Job Relations (JR).  “PPI Company Logo


This training is in the “Leadership Development” category of AKA’s services.  Often times, companies look at this category as “soft skills” that can’t be tied to specific efficiencies and cost savings for the company.  This is simply not the case as you will see as we discuss this project in more detail. 

A lot has changed for Plastic Products Company Inc. (PPC) since they started in ’62.  Plastic Products started in MN, but added facilities in KY in the ‘80’s.  As a 100% employee owned company, PPC now has over 160 employees in KY that mold and assemble products according to client specifications. 

PPC, and its employees in KY have maintained and grown while providing strong service to their customer base. This is especially notable since KY is experiencing a below average unemployment rate.  AKA’s many prospects and clients in Kentucky have indicated that finding and retaining good skilled employees and supervisors is one of the biggest challenges they face. 

In an effort to face this challenge head on, PPC determined that they wanted their supervisors to become better managers through learning to be better trainers and team leaders.  To implement this, PPC engaged the services of the Advantage Kentucky Alliance to further develop its supervisors and give them a stronger tool set in Job Instruction (JI), Job Methods (JM) and Job Relations (JR).  AKA led a cross-section of PPC’s Management staff from 3 facilities through “Training-Within-Industry” (TWI). Besides gaining the skills of how to train others better they also learned the 4 steps required to improve employee relations.

This training has definitely impacted PPC’s bottom line.  The biggest impacts came from the group’s Job Methods/Kaizen Proposals within 3 of PPC’s key processes.  AKA worked with one team for each of these 3 processes.  Each of these teams uncovered opportunities for improving current methods that had positive impacts including overhead savings and capacity increases.  

In the words of Bob Griessel, PPC’s Director of Manufacturing, "AKA and their TWI offering enabled our Supervisors to learn the tools of JI, JM and JR in the classroom through interacting with multiple exercises and case studies. Armed with a Standard Process, Documentation Format and 4 Step Pocket Card, the teams were able to find process waste and formally propose positive change..“

“Impacts Graphic

One team came up with an improved way to produce one assembly that also improves Quality. Total annual labor savings of up to $4000 are projected along with a contribution to a reduction in the plant’s annual Worker’s Compensation Insurance premium.

Another team was able to implement a reduction in Operator Steps on the “Dairy Door Machine” to unload and Assembly” process by moving raw materials and finished goods closer to the point of use.  Machine downtime was reduced enough to create an additional capacity of $36,000 from one Machine.

The 3rd team had the largest improvement and actually implemented their machine downtime reduction freeing up capacity for an additional $228,000 in sales. While reducing labor by an anticipated .02% annually.

Obtaining and retaining good and skilled workers is one of the most common challenges that we hear in our interactions with the manufacturing community within Kentucky.  PPC endeavored, with AKA’s help, to take on this challenge.  In attacking this challenge, PPC was able to better equip their supervisors and experience concrete savings at the same time.  You can experience similar efficiencies at your company.  Start the ball rolling today

To start the ball rolling, you will want to inquire about AKA’s Training-Within-Industry (TWI) services, or any of our Leadership Development Services. AKA also offers other “Best Practices” programs for manufacturers in Kentucky such as Growth Programs, Continuous Improvement Programs, ISO Quality Programs, etc.   Contact Kurt Felten, our marketing specialist, and have him set up a time for you to meet with one of our experts.  Kurt can be reached at (606) 620-0076 or via email at You can also see our AKA website for more information.  Just go to

Click here to see the full success story.

Or, to see other success stories of AKA clients, click here.

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