Busy Bees @ Packaging Specialties Earn Innovation Award

The bumblebee plays a key role in the image of PSI, a company that is “busy being better”.

Jeff Winkles, Plant Manager of the Burley, Idaho branch of Packaging Specialties, Inc, points out that the humble bumblebee is really not designed to fly but that the busy insect doesn’t appear to know that and does quite well. He points out similarities between the bumblebee and PSI which is busy flying successfully in the competitive world of commercial printing.

Familiar Tray Pack produced by Packaging Specialties.

PSI produces high quality printing on plastic. You may 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.  SOCI Award candidates are chosen from among the  many companies TechHelp 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 provides resources and information that helps Idaho companies, such as PSI,  succeed through continuous product and process innovation.

See more photos from the day here. 

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

Packaging Specialties, Inc has three strategically placed printing locations in the U.S. Each plant is equipped with state of the art PCMC 10 color presses as well as additional presses geared towards supplying 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. PSI opened the Idaho facility with printing capabilities for processed images on 10 color presses with max width of 49”and 48”repeats.

PSI makes familiar food packaging products that have unfamiliar names such as VFFS Film, Bundle Film, Tray Pack Film and Specialty Film.  The company is dedicated to providing 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.

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 and 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 out into the PSI facility and coach employees with these ideas.

The Boot Camp helped PSI form the most important piece of the PSI Lean puzzle; the Opportunity of Improvement Project Board. The Board lists plant and process improvement ideas that were generated by the PSI workforce and that have been given 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 Board developed 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 came from an employee idea that led to a modern training facility that helps prepare “Better Educated Employees”.

PSI could not have made this Board work without TechHelp training PSI leaders to be Lean Facilitators. These Lean projects usually help drive up PSI’s equipment efficiency which in turn helps drive up gross margins on sales. Some projects show direct dollar costs prior to the improvement, that is now money saved by the company. Overall this 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 in to 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 “Better Educated Employees”.

“PSI wants it employees to be as successful as possible at their everyday tasks, but at the same time wants 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
Production Foreman, Packaging Specialties of Idaho