It’s always a good day when I can add a new name to the "good" side of the list of companies mentioned in this blog, and today is such a day. Today’s news brings us the story of Avery Dennison expanding their plant in Marion, Mississippi and adding 75 new jobs. At a time when other companies are fleeing offshore due to supposed competitiveness burdens, Avery Dennison understands the value of being close to their customer and leveraging long-term employee knowledge.
Most companies forget the "other pillar" of lean: respect for people. This company apparently remembers it and understands the value that knowledge creates.
“The company really looks out for its employees, and the benefits and the working conditions are good,” he [receiving clerk Otis Conley] said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes, but I have enjoyed working here from day one,” Conley said. “I am totally satisfied.”
Steve Burns, director of operations, explains why lean is important to the company.
“This initiative of putting distribution and manufacturing together allows us to make a product, get it on a truck and get it to our customers quickly, without the added waste of double handling,” he said. “The major beneficiary of this project is really our customers. They are going to get their product faster, with good service and with good quality.”
Yes, value from the perspective of the customer. And value includes more than just price. The governor understands this as well.
Gov. Haley Barbour attended Thursday’s ground breaking and he said other companies could learn a thing or two from Avery Dennison and other Mississippi companies by applying Lean Manufacturing techniques. Barbour said Cooper Tires in Tupelo used the program in its $35 million expansion as well as Viking Range in Greenwood.
“What you are seeing all over are companies understanding that in a global marketplace they have got to produce high quality and control their costs, more volume with less money, and that is the key to competitiveness,” Barbour said. “This is a company that is doing it.”
Well, sort of. It’s really about creating customer value and not necessarily "more volume with less money," but we’ll give Governor Barbour a pass this time. Congrats to Avery Dennison for having the forward-thinking brains to think for themselves and avoid becoming yet another lemming.