"Keith, MTS Business Advisor, helped spur our thought process, which led us to a completely different project than what we were originally thinking."
Persona, Inc., was established in 1980 by Dennis Holien. Today the company is one of the top five sign suppliers in the US, with a customer list that includes AT&T, McDonald’s, Choice Hotels, Marriott, Cenex, Domino’s Pizza, and more than 150 other brands. Persona manufactures and installs signage at more than 6,000 locations across North America each year. The company has 225 employees, with two locations in Watertown and Madison, South Dakota.
Persona, Inc., in Watertown, South Dakota, had been named one of just three sign suppliers for McDonald’s. The new account was a huge win for Persona, but it presented a whole new set of challenges. In any year, McDonald’s aims to update hundreds of locations with remodeling or rebuilding—including new signs. Because there are only three sign suppliers in the program, this represented a sizeable opportunity—and a sizeable challenge. The company needed to build identical units very quickly and cost consciously.
Having previously heard of South Dakota Manufacturing & Technology Solutins (MTS), Persona called upon the NIST MEP affiliate for new ideas.
A MTS’ business advisor toured the Persona plant and started talking about how to shift its job-shop roots to something more streamlined and efficient. They began the process of value stream mapping some of its key product lines. The value-stream map led to a redesigned flow line. The Persona team created the process flow, designed and created additional tooling, and then put the new flow to the test. Within a month Persona began meeting output requirements and was able to increase output by 200%.
“I was able to quickly determine that we would be able to meet the demand because of the flow line capacity we had and the scalability and repeatability of the line. By early October, we had lines up and running at multiple production facilities, including our Watertown and Madison plants.”
“More importantly, we have won over some skeptics and there has been a positive impact to our culture. In 2013, we will be looking to expand our journey into Lean further in manufacturing and throughout the entire organization.”