Honeywell Operating System Drives Significant Process, Productivity Improvements for Charleston Site

1Shirley Bellamy, a production associate in Honeywell’s Charleston plant,  prepares Electriflex™ rubber insulating gloves for curing.

Not many Honeywell facilities can boast being on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, as the Charleston, SC, plant was September 2 in a story about Honeywell’s success in achieving growth through mergers and acquisitions.

The Charleston facility, comprised of two sites and 15 buildings, manufactures  rubber insulated gloves and sleeves used by electrical utility workers, including Electriflex™, a glove that can protect against up to 40,000 volts of electricity. Part of Honeywell Industrial Safety, the site was formerly owned by Norcross and was acquired by Honeywell in 2008.  The Journal story recounted the facility’s aging equipment and “ramshackle” appearance following a Honeywell executive’s tour of the site prior to the acquisition. But it’s a very different story for the Charleston site today.

2Thearon Nelson, production associate, cools the rubber insulating gloves with water before removing them from ceramic forms

Although the glove-manufacturing operation is housed in 37-year-old building, significant improvements made to the facility and the implementation of the Honeywell Operating System (HOS) have driven sustainable safety, quality, delivery, cost and inventory improvements. HOS focuses on standardized work, rapid problem solving, continuous improvement ideas from employees and knowledge sharing across all Honeywell businesses.  Through the hard work of employees, the Charleston site achieved HOS Bronze status and are now working towards Silver certification later this year. 

“The Honeywell acquisition of this business was the start of significant change for the Charleston operation,” said Gary Diesl, director of operations. “Following the acquisition, Honeywell invested heavily in the site to make physical improvements, but even more important were the operational and process improvements we achieved through the application of HOS. Today, we’re more productive, efficient and safer than ever.”

3Electriflex™ rubber insulated gloves await final inspection, packaging in the Honeywell Charleston site.

Improvements included new environmental controls, a new HVAC system, and new tanks to house chemicals used in the manufacturing process.  Additional improvements were made to improve physical and process safety in the plant.  The results… lead time to produce rubber insulated gloves has been reduced from one year to about 30 days, safety incidents are down 75% and sales volume has increased 39% since 2008.

“None of this would have happened without HOS and the investments the company made to this operation,” Diesl said.

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