When a company's sales increase almost 30 percent a year, the firm usually ends up hiring more employees to handle the extra work. Reed Switch Developments Co. Inc. took a different path: It got more out of its existing work force.
Overwhelmed by orders, the Racine manufacturer faced a dilemma in the winter of 1999.
"We were afraid to take on more business even though we were having no problem bringing it in," says president Debra Berns. "We were really getting bottlenecked out in production it was becoming very labor-intensive, we were having trouble finding good people, and we needed to expand."
Instead of expanding the 12-employee firm reorganized its shop floor by implementing a cellular manufacturing program. The result: an immediate 30 percent jump in …