Batesville Casket Wins 2009 ‘Plant of the Year’ Award

October 1, 2009
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image ASSEMBLY magazine, a trade publication for manufacturers, and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world’s

leading management consulting firms, today named Batesville Casket Company

the 2009 winner of their “Assembly Plant of the Year” award. The award

spotlights a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the United States

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that has applied world-class processes to reduce production costs, increase

productivity, shorten time to market, and improve product quality.

Headquartered in Batesville, Indiana, Batesville Casket is a leading

manufacturer of metal and hardwood burial caskets, cremation urns and

containers, and related support services. As the core operating company of

Hillenbrand, Inc. (fiscal 2008 revenues of $678 million), it employs about

3,300 people at manufacturing, sales, and distribution facilities

throughout North America.

Batesville won Assembly Plant of the Year for its application of lean

manufacturing techniques at its Manchester, Tennessee facility. Since going

lean 14 years ago, the facility has reduced costs per unit by almost 25

percent and cut the amount of floor space needed at its 450,000-square-foot

plant by more than 50 percent, creating room for new initiatives without

having to fund costly expansions. The plant’s vertically integrated

operations produce 98 percent of the 224 parts needed to assemble a typical

casket. All metal stamping, plastic injection molding, fabrication, and

painting are done in-house.

Batesville Casket has won numerous awards for manufacturing excellence in

recent years, including the Progressive Manufacturing Award from Managing

Automation magazine, IndustryWeek’s Best Plants award (Top 10 in North

America), regional Manufacturing Excellence Awards from the Association for

Manufacturing Excellence (AME), and the National AME Award as the number

one plant in North America.

“At a time when many U.S.-based companies have moved their manufacturing

operations overseas to lower costs, Batesville is an excellent example of

how a commitment to lean production can keep costs competitive,” said

Austin Weber, senior editor of ASSEMBLY.

“We are very impressed by the results that Batesville has been able to

achieve in all dimensions of its operations,” added Michael Zinser, a

partner in BCG’s Chicago office and coleader of the firm’s manufacturing

topic area. “Many businesses have adopted lean tools and principles, but

few have been able to generate the consistent improvements in cost,

quality, and delivery that Batesville has.”

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