Batesville Casket Wins 2009 ‘Plant of the Year’ AwardASSEMBLY 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
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.”