Anti-gravity treadmills! Bionic legs! For Fremont-based AlterG, creating the future with the products they made was the easy part. The hard part was imagining their own future – revamped processes with inefficiencies eliminated and the layout of their new facility. To assist them in envisioning their own “tomorrow,” they engaged Manex, a consulting firm affiliated with the Biomedical Manufacturing Network, a partnership focused on building a biomedical manufacturing network for business assistance, technology transfer, education and training, and economic development, of which East Bay Works partners are founding members.

Manex — experts in lean manufacturing — helped AlterG break down production from order entry to shipping. Using data-driven problem solving, AlterG developed value stream maps (charting which steps were valuable to the customer), conducted classic time-motion studies and brainstormed solutions. The team identified 93 improvement opportunities and, after using Manex’s methods to filter ideas, charged forward to tackle the 10 most important areas first.

Process changes resulted in:

  • Reduced lead time by 3 weeks
  • Reduced motion and transportation by 45%
  • Improved weekly productivity by 45%

And new metrics were introduced to ensure the improvements stayed on track. Best of all, by envisioning “optimal future state layout,” the new plant design was created and the relocation to the bigger facility was both a result of their work and the foundation of AlterG’s continuing improved productivity.

Mike Phillips, AlterG’s Vice President of Operations, says,

“They were with us every step of the way, giving us the tools to be more self-sufficient in the future. Our productivity gains helped us keep pace with increased sales… and the changes in our production flow helped us reduce overtime significantly. The added bonus of receiving supplemental funding through state and federal alliances, made it that much easier.”

The Biomedical Manufacturing Network is an example of EASTBAY Works’ leadership, bringing together complementary public partners to support our small businesses so they stay and grow in our region, contributing to our shred regional economic prosperity.