Sencorp employees on the factory floor


Lean machines

Although the last two years have been a trial by fire for the manufacturing industry, SencorpWhite is determined to succeed, and will continue to lead its sector with innovation and an exemplary company culture

SencorpWhite began over 70 years ago. Its journey has been one of acquiring businesses with unique capabilities, such as AccuSeal, which specializes in sealing technology, and Intek and Minerva, warehouse automation businesses, which were purchased in 2016 and 2017 respectively, to name a few. Corey E. Calla, CEO, and Doug Beaton, COO, provide insight into a company that has continually strived to deliver manufacturing best practices, dependability, and safety to a wide range of industries.

Scott Boyson, the company’s Marketing Director, gives us a closer look at the businesses. “SencorpWhite is an industry-leading designer and manufacturer of advanced storage systems, thermoformers, sealing machines, and automated warehouse solutions. We offer tailored solutions with in-house engineering, design and manufacturing capabilities, and on-site maintenance and service with field service engineers located throughout the United States. We specialize in five main product categories: thermoforming machines, automated storage and retrieval systems, medical pouch and tray sealers, automated clamshell and blister sealing machines, and supply chain execution (SCE) software.More Sencorp employees on the factory floor, with machinery

“In total, SencorpWhite is the parent company of five business units: Sencorp Systems, White Systems, CeraTek, Accu-Seal, Ascent Warehouse Logistics, and a factory-direct parts and service team,” says Scott.

Passion for people
The reason for operating such a wide diversification of businesses is to ensure that if one company appears to be facing financial challenges, the other businesses can be depended upon to carry it through market lulls, which has been particularly beneficial throughout the last two years. “We also move folks within the plant to help out in the areas where we’re seeing growth,” shares Corey.

“Despite this extensive range of companies, our main objective here is to focus on our employees,” Corey continues. “We would have nothing without this team. I try to remind them as often as I can that the business succeeds because of them. We could have the greatest products, but they don’t build themselves. We need our smart people to create the processes, and sometimes the automation, to have repeatability across the product lines. It’s all about our people. We want to become the best manufacturer, and the best place to work on Cape Cod, MA. Although it’s a small community, and we don’t have a lot of people to pull from, we want to make sure that we attract the best, grow the best, and keep the best,” he says.

Over the last two years, the company has taken its passion for people to new heights in an effort to shield both its employees and customers against the consequences of Covid-19. Corey, having moved to SencorpWhite from Honeywell Intelligrated, a high-speed conveyor manufacturer for high-speed distribution customers like Amazon, was presented with two opportunities to ensure business could continue as smoothly as possible during a time when many manufacturers were forced to shut down. “We had seen on the national news that Honeywell had won a large contract for making n95 masks for the national stock pile. So we reached out to the President of the company to find out if there was a way in which we could assist him with such high demand. This resulted in us retrofitting one of our thermoformers to make the base layer of the masks. He then came to investigate our machines, which are capable of doing one million masks a month, and Honeywell Intelligrated subsequently bought a number of machines from us to help them with their efforts,” he says.

Cultural transformation
In the second instance, the company created and adapted some products in the grocery collection sector with the help of its White Systems business. “When the pandemic hit, many families turned to ordering online, and would then pick up their order in store. So, we created a storage buffering application for the front of the store to ease congestion when there were up to 10-to-12 times more orders to store. When someone pulled up outside, they would enter the order number, and the carousel would spin and deliver that number to the attendant, who would then take it to the customer. We’re looking to do more of that as online sales continue on an up-hill trajectory.”

Although SencorpWhite was already heavily invested in the medical industry, during the pandemic the business was adamant about raising the standard of its packaging sealing equipment to ensure safer and more secure products. “A lot more companies were sensitive to the fact that when consumers purchased items that were packaged and sealed, it gave them a sense that the product was more likely to be clean and sanitized. We saw an increase of 30 percent in our business last year and we have been fortunate enough to see that growth level continue,” expresses Corey.

To remain sturdy on its feet, SencorpWhite is determined to improve its business going forward with strategies to improve its LEAN manufacturing, shorten its lead times, and eliminate waste – all of which Doug shares more about. “A massive issue we are currently facing at the moment is increased lead times. This is why we are building a business system for team members to grow and develop, and we believe that this will then help to reduce our lead times, and give ourselves a competitive advantage.

Machinery at Sencorp factory“We also want every team member to feel empowered and capable to identify problems, and solve them wherever possible. I believe that if we show them that level of respect, and remain eager to train them and give them support, they’ll be equipped and confident to spot more issues and solve them quicker and more effectively. In terms of our plant here, this is the first cultural transformation we are implementing that will engage teams to solve problems,” Doug continues to inform us.

Exploring potential
The company’s second facet is to eliminate waste by employing kaizen principles. “Every month we have one or two kaizen initiatives focused on that entire value stream with the intention of eliminating waste. We have a continuous improvement group dedicated to that aspect. We’re realizing that if we stick to our entire value streams, we will change that experience for the customers and, additionally, any new product launch processes will guarantee cross-functionality.”

SencorpWhite values its customer feedback greatly. By receiving advice from its clients, the company has now made the move towards standardization, which it believes will secure the business’s continued success. “We’re probably 80 percent standard and 20 percent custom at the moment, and we want to maximize on our opportunities concerning the former. We asked about the different proposals that we’re coming up with, so that we have the voice of the customer input early in the process. By beginning early enough, we have a greater understanding of our options. We can then jump into standardization. We feel that receiving input from our customers, and then adjusting the capabilities our of platform accordingly, is going to be a key factor in SencorpWhite’s growth,” shares Doug.

All three gentlemen are incredibly optimistic about the future of their business, regardless of the challenges that lie ahead. Each is looking forward to witnessing the full potential of their team’s innovation. “During the daily management meeting, we bring everyone together to discuss our value stream in order to solve problems, and we carry out a similar practice with the new product introduction process (NPI) process, utilizing formal stage gates to promote greater cross-functional interaction with business leaders, marketing, engineers, and manufacturing teams engaged early in the process. This allows us to design well and efficiently, and as a consequence, we have our first major initiative going through as we speak, which everyone here is very excited about, because it will bring fantastic opportunities for the continuation of our business. We’re looking forward to sharing it with our customers soon.

“Everything we do is about culture. Anytime a company goes through a transformation, you have to get everyone engaged and on board and that is exactly what we’re doing. We’ve spent the last several months reinstating the process of listening and getting the entire cross-functional team looking at the future state of the business, so that we have a clear direction for continued success in 2022 and beyond,” Doug concludes.

Services: Industrial machinery manufacturers