Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel Wire Products, spoke on Value Stream Management today before an international conference on lean manufacturing held by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) in Toronto.
His presentation, titled "From Bagels to Brainpower," described value stream and lean manufacturing methods Marlin Steel used to grow into a leading manufacturer of custom material handling containers.
By adding skilled mechanical engineers and $3.5 million invested in automation, the company pivoted from building commodity bagel baskets exclusively to a different product line -- fabricating customized containers for a wide variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace and pharmaceuticals. Marlin ships steel wire baskets, sheet metal enclosures, wire forms and other products to 36 countries. The engineers' ability to probe fit, form and function helped Marlin Steel attract and serve new clients seeking innovative precision handling solutions. The company also retrained its production staff from reliance on largely labor-heavy, low-tech methods to practices based in automation, innovation and lean principles.
Founded in 1985, AME is a non-profit group that promotes lean manufacturing practices such as kaizen and value stream mapping. It operates in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia with more than 5,000 members. This week’s conference at the Sheraton Centre Toronto drew “lean” thought leaders John Shook, Dan Jones, Mike Rother and Jim Womack.
“Marlin Steel Wire Products represents one of the best examples of how a manufacturer can thrive by implementing the principles of continuous improvement,” AME President Paul Kuchuris said. “Drew Greenblatt and his company have been a valued member of AME and we are thrilled with their success and grateful for how they have shared the principles of that success with other members of our association. “
At an awards ceremony earlier this month, Inc. magazine ranked Marlin Steel Wire Products as the 230th fastest-growing private manufacturing company in the United States on its "5000" list of fast-growing companies. Marlin Steel was one of three U.S. companies chosen this year for the Metalforming Pioneer Award by the Precision Metalforming Association and The Hitachi Foundation. It also was named for the second straight year as one of the 100 fastest-growing companies based in a U.S. city by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.