Jarraff Industries improves its operations with GAP, lean and the Eureka! Winning Ways program.
BY HEIDI BOYUM
In manufacturing, no matter the specific industry or sector, there is always room for improvement.
In 2008, we at Jarraff Industries were looking for ways to improve our operations and create a self-sustaining, continuous improvement environment. We turned to Enterprise Minnesota and the Growth Acceleration Program (GAP) to implement lean across the board.
We were approved for GAP reimbursement funds that equaled about $11,000--or 50 percent of our overall investment in lean. Over the next two summers, the entire company worked to lean up four specific areas of operation. The result was a 30 percent increase in capacity in the
brush mower area, a 25 percent decrease in production and labor costs, and increased morale, efficiency and overall organization. We also were able to turn about $1 million of inventory into cash.
Lean was a great success companywide. Kim Goerger, Jarraff's operations manager, put it best when she said, "One of the biggest things is just getting rid of junk and stuff that was never going to be used but took up valuable space. Also, getting the parts closer to where
they are used and making them accessible was a huge improvement for us."
Following up on our lean success, we were ready to tackle growth and development. Jarraff's signature machine--a mechanical tree trimmer called "the Jarraff"--solidified the company's reputation as the first name in right-of-way maintenance and tree trimming operations for
the last 30 years. When we began to discuss growth, we came upon an idea for a new machine that we think will make just as much of a splash in the market.
To help us hone the idea--which will be unveiled this spring--we again reached out to Enterprise Minnesota and the Eureka! Winning Ways program. Through the Eureka! process, we were able to validate our idea and delve deeper into market specifics. Thanks to GAP funding, we
were able to get 75 percent of our $18,800 investment refunded.
At Jarraff, we're always seeking out ways to improve, whether that means leaning up more areas of our company or continuing to innovate new product lines. Through this process, we've developed new ideas, leaner business practices and strong relationships. We are looking
forward to greater collaboration, both with Enterprise Minnesota and the GAP, in the years to come