Probes Unlimited Inc, (PUI) is a leader in the U.S. temperature measurement market, which is highly intense and competitive. There are more than 200 companies that design and manufacture temperature sensors in an industry that excess $1 billion in annual sales. PUI produces products that support industries such as food/beverage, military, instrument, electronics and produces more than 1200 parent item numbers.
Globally, most commodity production of sensors has moved overseas due to cost. However, PUI is meeting demand for commodity and specialty products through cost and service improvement, smaller production runs, standardization, and faster delivery times; as well as digitizing analog signals for direct connection to the internet (IoT).
As the company continued to grow and focus on developing products for new business opportunities, it also needed to increase its throughput and efficiency, specifically the capacity of the operation, and provide quality products to meet customer demand. Doing so would lead to improvement of on-time delivery to support customers as well. Further, PUI’s leaders wanted to provide their employees with the skills necessary to affect change within the organization, enable employees to identify problems, and provide solutions to augment the improvement with efficiencies, processes, and to meet and sustain this growth. PUI reached out to DVIRC to support company growth, employee development, and operational improvements.
DVIRC’s content experts, third party providers, Training & Education Workshops, and Executive Network groups enabled PUI to receive training and implement of improvement initiatives as described, and to support the company’s new product development efforts through grant support and writing. This included:
- PUI’s leaders joined DVIRC’s Executive Network Groups, through which they had professionally facilitated discussions about the company’s plans, validated and identified opportunities to execute their growth and training plans, and assistance pursuing new product development efforts;
- PUI employees participated in DVIRC’s training and education workshops to enhance their understanding of the tools and methods needed to implement change. Courses included:
- DVIRC provided on-site training and implementation of Root Cause Analysis to identify opportunities for improvement and relevant solutions, Lean and Continuous Improvement training and implementation that improved processes in product cells (particularly) that improved the efficiency and quality of manufacturing and assembly of products.
All employees, from leadership to leads, supervisors, and even operations staff, have been engaged at various levels in the above efforts. The following results were achieved despite the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic, workforce gaps, supply-chain and logistics interruptions, all while adding another operating division with a primary desire for the company to grow.
Over the past several years, the company reports the following:
- 20% efficiency improvement
- 50% sales increase in the past three years
- 20-25% increase in contribution margin over the same period
- Increase in 12 employees
- Expected incorporating similar methodologies with continuous improvement at the new subsidiary of the company
In addition to the above, DVIRC has provided guidance with the company’s new product development efforts, introduced the company to potential SBIR opportunities, and to regional and state partners (for training grants, and others).
Despite the global pandemic, Probes Unlimited has utilized the above services and was able to grow, achieve competitive position, reduce costs, enhance space utilization, and improve employee’s skills.