THE HARRIS PRODUCTS GROUP

The Harris Products Group wins national Best Plants competition

Mason, OH - Jan 17, 2013 :

IW Best Plants WinnerAfter delivering compelling proof of strong manufacturing performance and a comprehensive focus on continuous improvement, the Harris Products Group facility in Mason, Ohio, has officially won IndustryWeek’s prestigious, nationwide Best Plants competition.

"We were incredibly confident going into this competition. But once we got the call confirming our win – to be named one of the Best Plants in North America – it’s great validation for the hard work our team has put in," said Dan Marascalchi, vice president of global operations for Harris. "We knew our commitment to excellence was solid and is evident in our day-to-day work, but now the world knows." 
  
Six winners were announced today and are profiled in this month’s issue of IndustryWeek. Participants completed an application in 2012 that involved a lengthy description and data supporting the plant’s accomplishments, improvements and operations in multiple categories.  These include Management Practices, Quality Achievements, Employment Practices, Safety, Customer Focus, Supply Chain and Logistics, Technology, Manufacturing & Flexibility, Maintenance, Inventory Management, Environmental Stewardship and Competiveness & Market Results.

IndustryWeek writes, "From the 45% decrease in WIP to the 41% drop in customer reject rate and inching up toward a 90% first pass yield, the company's numbers are breaking records, shattering expectations and yielding industry best results."

The company was recently notified it would receive the honor shortly after the on-site review by one of its editors. "During our recent site visit, we found ample evidence to validate the activities, practices and accomplishments cited in your entry materials," said Jill Jusko, best plants director for IndustryWeek. "We believe this facility is a pacesetter among North American manufacturers in terms of operational strategy, production practices and performance, and will continue to lead the way in the future."

An international manufacturer of cutting, welding, brazing and soldering equipment and consumables and gas distribution systems, the Harris Products Group operates two U.S. plants, a distribution and manufacturing facility in City of Industry, Calif., and facilities in Europe and Brazil.

The Mason, Ohio, facility manufactures brazing and soldering alloys along with brazing rings and return bends. The alloys are used in the manufacture of OEM products in HVAC/R, transportation and automotive, mining and energy, heavy fabrication and other industries. The products manufactured in Mason are sold in the U.S. and exported to 96 countries.

President of The Harris Products Group David J. Nangle commended his teams’ ability to practice excellence in all they do.

"This incredible honor is a credit to our entire team. They are committed to doing their best and to being the best, every day," Nangle said. "To be recognized as one of the best manufacturing plants speaks volumes about their devotion to making Harris and our parent company, Lincoln Electric, a leader in manufacturing."

Nangle said the recent focus on American manufacturing in the news and surrounding public policy makes the distinction even more special.

"We know American manufacturing is competitive and innovative; we see it on our plant floor. To be able to share our story with the larger manufacturing community is an honor, and we look forward to advancing manufacturing even further."

Nangle said the progress the plant has made wouldn’t be possible without the leadership team in place, including Marascalchi and Rob Temple, the Mason plant manager.

"Our team is continuously evaluating and amending our processes to increase productivity and efficiency, and ultimately deliver better quality to our customers," Temple said. "Complacency is non-existent here, and this award is a strong pat on the back for always striving to be better in all that we do."

"We have an all-hands-on-deck mentality here, and our employees are willing to offer their point of view and expertise to find solutions and cost savings in every department and area of operations," he said. "I’m proud to work with individuals who come to work every day and aim to improve something even if it’s not broken."

The lengthy application process used operations metrics from 2008 as a benchmark and compared them to progress made over a three-year period, 2009-2011. In the application, The Harris Products Group stressed five primary objectives:

  1. Safety & Environmental Responsibility
  2. Quality Built into All Operations
  3. Customer Service Driving Improvement
  4. Beat Project Improvement Goals
  5. Team-based Problem Solving Using Lean/Six Sigma Tools

After making the first initial cut in the process, the Mason facility was then asked to submit responses to six additional questions concerning cost improvement projects, first-pass yield, cycle times, on-time delivery, inventory reduction and productivity improvement. The follow-up concluded with testimonials from customers and information about the plant’s distinction as the 2011 Lincoln Electric EHS Chairman’s Award winner for environmental impact, safety and quality.

Then a site visit in December by an editor from IndustryWeek reviewed and validated the claims made in the application process. Harris hosted a roundtable at that time for team leaders and supervisors to share their success stories, projects and passion for continuous improvement.

The Harris Products group was honored alongside several prestigious companies, including Ethicon in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico; La-Z-Boy in Dayton, Tenn.; Lockheed Martin in Troy, Ala.; Warren Rupp in Mansfield, Ohio; and CNH Wichita Product Center in Wichita, Kan. 

To read the Harris profile, visit www.industryweek.com/iw-best-plants/2012-iw-best-plants-winner-driven-data or visit www.industryweek.com/iw-best-plants/2012-iw-best-plants-winners-amazing-efforts-amazing-achievements to learn about all of the winners.

About The Harris Products Group
The Harris Products Group, a Lincoln Electric Company, is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of cutting, welding, brazing and soldering equipment and consumables and gas distribution systems. Harris Products Group products are sold and used in more than 90 countries. Named a 2012 IndustryWeek Best Plant for excellence in manufacturing, the company’s Mason, Ohio, facility serves as its international corporate headquarters. For more information about the Harris Products Group and its products and services, please visit www.harrisproductsgroup.com or call Customer Service at 1-800-733-4043.

About IndustryWeek’s Best Plants Award Competition
Established in 1990, the IndustryWeek Best Plants awards program annually recognizes plants, located in North America, that are on the leading edge of efforts to increase competitiveness, enhance customer satisfaction and create stimulating and rewarding work environments. Its further goal is to encourage other manufacturing managers and work teams to emulate honorees by adopting world-class practices, technologies, and improvement strategies. For additional information, visit www.industryweek.com/iwbestplants.

Contact Information:
Ira Vea Bennett, Director of Marketing
The Harris Products Group
2345 Murphy Boulevard
Gainesville, GA 30504-6000
Tel:  678.928.3772
Fax:  770.535.8358
Email:  ira_bennett@lincolnelectric.com