Packaging Specialties Inc (PSI)

PSI Is Busy "Beeing" Better

Packaging Specialties, Inc has three strategically placed printing locations in the U.S. Each plant features state of the art PCMC 10 color presses and other presses that supply over 27 different industries with the highest quality printed films available.  PSI opened the Burley plant to serve customers in Western Canada, the Western United States, and Mexico. The Idaho facility has printing capabilities for processed images on ten color presses with a max width of 49” and 48” repeats.

TechHelp's Dave O'Connell (L) and Steve Hatten (R) flank PSI Plant Manager, Jeff Winkles and Production Manager, Traig Jones

TechHelp’s Dave O’Connell (L) and Steve Hatten (R) flank former PSI Plant Manager, Jeff Winkles and current Plant Manager, Traig Jones.

PSI makes familiar food packaging products that have unfamiliar names such as VFFS Film, Bundle Film, Tray Pack Film, and Specialty Film.  PSI can wrap just about any food item found in a typical grocery store. The company provides sustainable solutions that are fiscally and environmentally responsible.  PSI strives to efficiently and responsibly manage all current and future resources, assets, and influence to bring beneficial products to its customers, the community, and the environment.

The Challenge

The Burley, Idaho branch of Packaging Specialties, Inc, sees itself as the bumblebee of its industry. Though the humble bumblebee was not designed to fly, the busy insect does not know this and performs admirably.  PSI manages to fly successfully in the competitive world of commercial printing.

Familiar Tray Pack produced by Packaging Specialties.

PSI produces high-quality printing on plastic. You probably come across PSI products in your local grocery store.

TechHelp honored PSI with the Fall 2014 Spirit of Continuous Innovation Award (SOCI) during a luncheon at the plant on September 11.  Once per quarter, TechHelp’s governing organization, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), works with TechHelp to select and recognize an Idaho company that embodies the Spirit of Continuous Innovation that is at the heart of the NIST MEP mission.  TechHelp chooses SOCI Award candidates from among the many companies the organization works with annually that create positive economic impact in the areas of sales, savings, investment, and employment. As Idaho’s Manufacturing Extension Partner and a partnership of Idaho’s three state universities, TechHelp helps Idaho companies, such as PSI,  succeed through continuous product and process innovation.

See photos from the PSI Spirit of Continuous Innovation Day here. 

TechHelp’s Role

TechHelp was instrumental in helping PSI establish more facilitators for the company’s Continuous Improvement Activities.  PSI had plenty of Continuous Improvement ideas but not enough leaders to help drive the projects forward,  keep the employees engaged with their ideas, or help employees take their ideas forward. “We were already committed to Lean Manufacturing when we came to Idaho,” said Plant Manager Jeff Winkles. “Being able to bring in Dave O’Connell helped us accelerate our efforts in the Burley plant.”

O’Connell provided a guideline for Lean Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement in the form of a six-month Lean Boot Camp that helped PSI team leaders understand all the key components of Lean. Participants learned how to go into the PSI facility and coach employees on their ideas.

The Boot Camp helped PSI form the most important piece of the PSI Lean puzzle; the Opportunity of Improvement Project Board. The OIP Board lists plant and process improvement ideas that were generated by the PSI workforce and that have earned the green light for funding and implementation.  Placing the ideas on the Board in plain view of the entire PSI team shows that the PSI leadership group is serious about taking on the commitment and accountability of all improvement ideas. The creation of the OIP Board inspired a continuous improvement motto for the plant – “Tell me and I may forget, Show me and I may remember, Involve me and I will understand.”

The PSI BEE Hive was an employee idea that led to a modern training facility that helps prepare

The BEE Hive was an employee idea that led to the creation of a modern training facility at PSI that helps prepare “Better Educated Employees.”

PSI could not have made this Board work without TechHelp training PSI leaders to be Lean Facilitators. PSI’s Lean projects help drive up the company’s equipment efficiency which in turn helps drive up gross margins on sales. Some projects show direct dollar costs before the improvement, which becomes money saved by the company. Overall the Lean Initiative keeps the morale of PSI employees high because they know that PSI is empowering and engaging them on how to do their job easier, smarter, and quicker.

One idea that PSI turned into reality was the “BEE Hive” a comfortable classroom with state of the art AV equipment that now sits above the PSI plant floor. PSI employees came up with the idea and the name for the room and received the financial and managerial backing to make it happen. Today, PSI has a dedicated space it regularly uses to create its BEE’s, “Better Educated Employees.”

PSI wants its employees to be as successful as possible at their everyday tasks. At the same time, we want them to be efficient in how they do those tasks.  Dave O’Connell of TechHelp and Idaho State University helped get PSI to this place.

Traig Jones
Plant Manager, Packaging Specialties of Idaho

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