New Mexico Small Business Assistance: Solving small business challenges through laboratory expertise SUBMIT request for assistance NMSBA Los Alamos National Laboratory Sandias National Laboratory

Client Highlights

Solaro Energy
"Because of NMSBA’s help, we are in the process of constructing a second building so that we can fabricate our own components that we currently buy from suppliers."

 

Solaro Energy, Inc., invents, designs, and produces solar-powered lighting systems and attic ventilation systems. To grow his business with his current workforce and meet a monthly demand of 1,000 units, Solaro owner and engineer Dennis Grubb requested NMSBA’s help with production workflow.

NMSBA brought Grubb together with Andrea Holling of New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Holling began by training Solaro’s employees in Lean Manufacturing techniques, which enables companies to transition manufacturing from mass production to smaller, more efficient areas for building individual products.

Holling then worked with the employees to streamline production for the company’s attic fans. She helped them create a value stream map of their production process to identify wasteful steps. And together, they reorganized the area into a manufacturing cell as well as implemented a separating, sorting, shine,
standardizing, and sustaining (5S) system and visual systems to quickly organize tools, information, and materials used in manufacturing.

Using the improved manufacturing process, Solaro was able to decrease product cycle time from 40 to 22 minutes and can now comfortably produce 1,500 units a month. The increased capacity surpasses the current demand for their product of 1,000 units per month and allows for immediate growth in sales. In addition, because of the improvements to its production process, Solaro reduced its expenses related to quality issues to nearly zero.