A company that has been around for nearly a century is bound to observe countless changes in customers, products, services, policies, and other elements of conducting and growing business. But the MEYER Rigging division of a company like William B. Meyer, Inc. must often rely on skills and attributes that have not changed much in the 96 years they’ve been around: moving an industrial client from one location to another is in many ways a function that has not altered a great deal since 1915, when the Stratford, CT-based rigging company was founded. The fact remains that industrial relocation requires meticulous planning and formidable teamwork.
Holo-Krome, the leading domestic manufacturer of socket head fasteners and screws, recently found out that those are two corporate strengths at MEYER Rigging that didn’t age a day in over nine decades. The ‘how-to checklist’ for industrial relocation that resulted from the collaboration between the two companies (see sidebar) is an effective primer for companies of all sizes and in all industries.
In March of 2012, MEYER Rigging relocated Holo-Krome from a plant in West Hartford, CT to a new 187,000 square-foot facility in Wallingford, about 19 miles away. Approximately five million pounds of equipment were moved, requiring 120 truckloads, in addition to another 50 truckloads of raw material and finished goods.
The physical move took just over two months to complete. Not a single piece of industrial hardware, office equipment, furniture or any other items from the original site was lost or damaged. What’s more, Holo-Krome and its parent company anticipate a strong performance in the next several quarters, and their resourceful, well-organized new facility plays a significant role in that conviction.
According to MEYER Rigging representatives, the way to efficiently move any department in any company—whether you are talking about huge furnaces and laser equipment or office desks and copy machines—is through precise, detailed planning and open-door solidarity between the company being moved and the company doing the moving.
Fastenel, Holo-Krome’s parent since 2009, announced in June 2010 that it was relocating its new division from the site in West Hartford that had been its home since 1929.Fastenal and Holo-Krome worked in conjunction with both the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the Town of Wallingford to keep the manufacturing operations, along with roughly 100 jobs, inside the Nutmeg State. Management considered more than 20 new sites before deciding on the one in Wallingford, noting that its physical footprint could be doubled in the future if necessary, thanks to the 51 acres on which it sits.
Once the site had been formally selected, a team from Richard Muther and Associates was retained to conduct Systematic Layout Planning for the new building. Teamwork, already a strong corporate initiative at Holo-Krome, extended to its partnership with the consultant group as plans were developed for a new facility that would befit a manufacturer of Holo-Krome’s stature: the company’s heritage is one of innovation, beginning with the trend they pioneered to manufacture socket screws by metal forming or ‘heading’ rather than machining, to their subsequent invention of the ‘cold-forged’ process, in which the metal is pre-warmed to improve its plasticity for forming.
When the layout plans were nearing completion, Holo-Krome interviewed five top-rated rigging companies, taking into account experience, communication routines, accessibility, price and all other components that would make for a successful relocation partner. MEYER Rigging, according to Holo-Krome, came out on top mostly because of their proven dependability, the excellent reputation of its personnel, and price.
MEYER Rigging has more than 96 years of experience and does, in fact, promote itself as the company with the most operational support and field experience at the most competitive rates. The company offers a broad range of rigging services, including machinery break-down and erection, millwright services, plant reorganization and heavy hauling, as well as specialized services that require air-ride extendable flatbeds and lowboys, modular gantry cranes, hydraulic jacking, forklifts and Versalifts.
Holo-Krome put together a team comprised of about 25 employees, divided into sub-groups covering preparation, support, receiving and other vital corporate functions. Along with dozens of professionals over at MEYER Rigging , the move, which began on January 3, 2011, was completed by March 8—just over two months. Five workdays were lost due to the substantial snowstorms that defined the winter of 2011.
“It’s in the planning and the details,” says Tim Thompson, Director of Operations at Holo-Krome. “That’s how it all begins. Also, we never underestimate the simplest of tasks, we always follow through on due diligence every step of the way, and we are always willing to be flexible when we need to be.” Thompson adds “This extended to the team from MEYER Rigging who essentially became part of the fabric of our organization during the whole process…it would have been impossible to successfully complete a project of this magnitude without their level of skill and leadership as our move partner.”
Every conceivable industry needs the kinds of products that Holo-Krome produces, from consumer goods and communications to agriculture and mining—anything where one part must hold firm against another with absolutely no chance of displacement. Holo-Krome’s cold-forging techniques result in socket screws that are more precise, offer greater strength and afford higher fatigue resistance, which is why the forging, measuring and quality control equipment moved from West Hartford to Wallingford had to be disassembled, transported and reassembled with incomparable care and precision. Forging or measuring equipment improperly transported and re-launched in a new setting would potentially compromise the quality of thousands of fasteners and screws on which many other companies depend for their own commercial and economic success.
What’s more, everything from manufacturing to shipping must meet stringent criteria to abide by the various industry standards and certifications required in that industry. The dismantling, moving and reassembly had to be precise and exact in every conceivable way to maintain those standards.
One of the most important parts of the Holo-Krome relocation plan was the development and relocation of a pre-build inventory to keep the plant’s distribution running during the move. This was a decisive step.
Holo-Krome and MEYER Rigging then worked together to develop a logistically and technologically sound sequence of events to move the 60 manufacturing cells they had in operation at the West Hartford plant. Considerations in designing this sequence included the effects of equipment layout on removal from the West Hartford site, as well as intended layout and reinstallation at the new facility. Door sizes, access to loading areas…all became major factors especially when moving the bigger machines, some of which weigh in excess of 150,000 lbs.
As each new day began during the actual move, the combined Holo-Krome and MEYER Rigging teams reviewed the entire plan from top to bottom and made any modifications that were deemed necessary based on the experiences of the day before and any additional observations made by team members.
Also, in addition to the physical moving of material items from West Hartford to Wallingford, all of the industrial equipment was cleaned, inspected and painted prior to reassembly. That, too, was an effective measure.
“Like Holo-Krome, we at William B. Meyer can’t say it enough: it’s all in the planning and the details,” says Kevin Sullivan of the operations department. “When you have the talent diversification that we have, planning the details becomes second nature—although we never become complacent about that, and never will. Our foremen and project managers have a combined total of well over a century of experience in this business. We know what we’re doing. And our best barometer is customer satisfaction.”
To learn more about Holo-Krome, visit www.holo-krome.com.
Mapping out a Successful Relocation
An effective checklist of essential ingredients for successful corporate and industrial relocation was the result of a strong alliance between Holo-Krome and William B. Meyer/MEYER Rigging, the company that moved their entire operation 19 miles, from West Hartford to Wallingford, CT.
1. Conduct a systematic layout map for the new building. That’s the only way to know the right things to look for, ask for and plan for when developing the actual moving plans with your rigging company. Often this step requires the participation of independent experts in industrial architecture and design.
2. When interviewing rigging companies to manage the actual move, put among your top priorities their experience with similar relocations, their position on continuous consultation and interaction, the accessibility of executives and foremen, and price.
3. Put together a team that can be effectively divided into sub-groups with expertise in logistics, regulations, quality control, shipping and receiving, inventory, personnel and all other corporate functions pertinent to the move.
4. Develop a full and complete pre-build inventory so that the plant’s distribution capabilities can continue unabated during the relocation.
5. Outline a comprehensive sequence of events that can support the logistical and technological relocation of all of the company’s manufacturing processes.
As appears on-line in American Manufacturing Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012