Twelve years ago, distrust between union leadership and plant management prevailed at Johnson & Johnson Medical Incorporated (JJMI) in Sherman. Today, however, Billy Mayo, president of Local 513 of the United Textile Union, keeps a full-time office on the plant premises and sits in on weekly staff meetings with plant manager Tim McGraw at this 1991 Best Plants award winner.
This unique partnership has introduced a palpable pride of ownership. The Wall of Honor features employees who have identified prices of nonconformance over $25,000. In Competitors' Corner, workers can examine and compare their products with those of direct competitors.
Another partnership with Grayson County College resulted in a one-week program to certify qualified JJMI employees as industrial instructors. These instructors are then authorized to teach and perform Integrated Quality System certification throughout the plant. Ninety-nine percent of all operators are now certified.
Continuous-improvement efforts by QIP (Quality Improvement Process) teams produced $2.6 million worth of savings for the plant in 1990. A high-speed machine generating nonsterile sponges, for example, is now operated by two people. The cell produces roughly 3,100 pads per minute. In the past, six operators ran the machine.
JJMI's cardless kanban system has eliminated the transactions required to support material planning and control systems. Just-in-time and flexible manufacturing, inventory reduction, work-cell design, continuous flow, and self-inspection have all combined to reduce the need for warehousing space by 70,000 square feet.