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Words of Warning: A Look Inside Electromark

(July 2007) posted on Tue Jul 10, 2007

Electromark is a comany that made its name by capitalizing on an extremely important segment of the printing industry. Find out how the production of safety-related labels and signage propelled the company to prosperity.


By Ben P. Rosenfield

click an image below to view slideshow

Electromark’s Website (www.electro mark.com) features e-commerce functionality to complement its traditional sales channels. It makes most of the company’s stock markings available for online ordering, from the J-Signs mentioned earlier to ANSI- and OSHA-compliant lockout tags. The Website also gives users the opportunity to customize certain products, and it takes them through that process step by step.

With so many products to offer, you’d think that Electromark would have a tremendous inventory to oversee. According to Beck, that’s not usually the case. “We’re typically not very large volume. Our average run size is in the hundreds, but we’ll run one or 100,000. We use what we call an anticipated-to-promise system, which means we have very reduced lead times and are very quick to market,” he explains. “We put as few items on the shelf as we can. It’s all about being lean, being able to produce a few labels as efficiently as producing many.”

The company has hosted several lean events over the past two years and is undergoing a complete, facility-wide process-flow change. Beck says walls are literally coming down in order to streamline manufacturing. Electromark uses an enterprise-resource-planning system that its IT department developed in house in collaboration with production managers. It facilitates real-time job tracking throughout the life of a project.

 

EHS and VOCs

Electromark conveys its expertise in safety in the products it makes and has extended that specialty to the way it protects its employees by developing a comprehensive environmental health and safety (EHS) program. EHS is a big subject at Electromark—one that goes far beyond ensuring that employees have and use proper personal protective gear. Beck explains that the company has guarded every piece of equipment and has relied on engineers and the employees themselves to develop those protective measures. Some of the other EHS-related programs in place at Electromark include waste management, HazCom, and a safety committee that meets monthly.

“Our employees are our greatest asset,” Beck explains. “It’s in our best interest to put their safety first—not only for the health and welfare of the employees, but also because they in turn recognize these efforts and feel a lot more comfortable coming to work every day.”

Maintaining the most safe and healthy working environment possible is but one part of Electromark’s philosophy of caring for employees. Beck says Electromark gives its workers every opportunity to succeed and grow with the company by giving them all of the training and support to do so.

Electromark’s approach to sustainability issues extends its consideration of company-wide employee health to the environment inside and outside of the facility. According to Beck, Electromark constantly reviews its emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and tries to reduce those emissions, based on products currently in the marketplace.

“We have the appropriate ventilation and just completed an air-balance survey of the entire plant so that we can again look at what we’re venting, how we’re venting, and how to make an environmentally friendly atmosphere as far as dust and VOCs,” he explains. “And as far as chemicals, we have a staff that looks at alternatives so we can go with environmentally friendly, VOC-free types of products.”

 

Everywhere a sign

Prevention of workplace injuries can be as simple as posting the right sign in the right place. Electromark helps ensure that safety signage is properly installed and displayed and offers sign evaluations, as well as plant walk-throughs, assistance with piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) takeoffs, and turnkey installation of pipe markers and safety signs. This full-scale approach to sales and service has helped Electromark grow into a 130-employee operation and into an 80,000-sq-ft facility. But safety signage is more than just a source of profit for Electromark. These products are, as the company puts it, “the front line defense against unsafe practices, and it is unconscionable not to use them to warn effectively.” In other words, they save lives.

 

 

 

 

 


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