Friday, November 28, 2008

Interstate Container Fitchburg Moves to Become Interstate Container Westminster

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From Fitchburg to Westminster – 110 days to go...

Source: 2008, by Richard A. (Dick) Monteiro, Director - INDEVCO Paper Containers Division

As an integral part of restructuring the theme of the northeast Interstate Container plants (members of INDEVCO Group) to establish regional service to customers under one umbrella with two efficient manufacturing and distribution locations, the Fitchburg, MA plant was relocated in its entirety from a 200 year-old textile mill building into a very new industrial campus building Interstate Container Westminster in Westminster, MA.

In order to facilitate the maximum completion of tasks in the minimum amount of time, a very aggressive of schedule was developed – carving out 110 days from the “OK” to proceed – to the final commissioning of all equipment and operations.

Any movement or displacement of manufacturing equipment can have an adverse affect on customers and plant personnel. Moving an entire plant and inflicting little ‘pain’ to our customers and employees was a mandate that underwrote the project planning. Countless meetings and hours were spent on planning and interaction with every level and every employee that would be affected by the relocation. All input and comments were carefully weighed and considered in the development of the final schedule and plan.

In order to be cost-effective and to maintain the participation of employees, each and every employee participated to one extent or another in the process.

A tremendous amount of effort by all of the sales team and the customer service group at both Lowell and Fitchburg made possible the fact that all customers were kept supplied with products as they needed them. Reaction to arising circumstances and finding ways to work-around issues was a key element in not losing any business. Hat’s off to these two sales/service personnel.

Not to mention the contributions by each and every manufacturing and support personnel at Fitchburg – including shipping and transportation departments would be a travesty, since they had to bear the inconvenience of disruption and yet still find a way to run orders and make deliveries.

Because the new building had previously been used as an inventory storage facility, all new utility infrastructure had to be constructed for compressed air, sanitary and non-potable water, electrical, wastewater, and foundations. No small task considering the timeline of 110-days, which included the final design layout, negotiation of contractors, and issuance of construction permits.

The corrugated plant infrastructure

In order to meet the 110-day commitment, a 14hour/7-day a week schedule was adopted. The key to achieving the results was through working closely with local management, customer service and sales, and with the unrelenting effort of Fitchburg’s single maintenance man Austin Fisher.

The corrugated plant in operation

The results should speak for themselves… the former Fitchburg team has a “new” home in Westminster which they can be proud of, and which they can all say ‘they built’!

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