ECI Screen Print Inc. has undergone a relocation process from South Main Street in Thomaston to their new location on Mountain View Drive in Watertown, just a 6 mile drive down Route 8 South. The new location is what used to be a bakery, with tall ceilings, and large ovens that needed to be removed before remodeling. The rear of the building used to be the freezer and has been turned into the new production department whereas the front of the building that was once the main floor to the bakery has become the reception area, meeting rooms and offices. The building also comes with two loading docks that the shipping department can call their own, which are easily accessible for shipping and deliveries. An official break room, lobby, supply closets and restrooms have also been added to the building. The layout is spacious and free flowing, allowing employees to be able to communicate and interact with one another easily. This “free flow” was designed with the idea of ECI’s intercompany cross training technique in mind to create a more fluid, open, and collaborative workplace. “We are one company, with everyone working toward one common goal no matter what their role is. Servicing our customers,” President Edward Cook explains his reasoning.
ECI president, Edward Cook has planned and overseen the project, which started back in September as he saw his company grow and his workforce increase. Cook sought more space for his workers and found the old bakery as his new template. ECI is a constantly growing company, with 20 people when the project began and now at 25; Cook hopes to have 30 or more workers by August of 2015. He began the project not only in expansion for his employees but also because the fine quality industrial and medical device products ECI Screen Print is now creating requires the best facility they can provide. ECI has gone from a much smaller location on the third floor of an old industrial mill building in Thomaston to a central industrial park location in Watertown. “We are going from a low profile business to front and center in the community,” explains Cook about the drastic change.
ECI employees visited the new location in early September, prior to construction. Each department visited their new space and worked with ConnStep on a lean plant layout for each area. Employees took scaled drawings of their actual equipment, measured and cut out from Brown Kraft paper to size, and began the tedious process of setting up their “equipment”. All ECI production teams worked at the new facility for a little more than a month, two days per week for one hour each time to adapt their processes to the new location. This fun and educational experience had everyone learning a lot in how to handle their process and was more difficult at first. After some time to get used to the new location, the end production spaces flowed nicely and everyone felt pride in what they had accomplished.
On December 17, fifteen employees from all different departments of ECI travelled to their new facility for a grand tour. The group met to talk about the new layout, where equipment was going to be, safety awareness and what the new location was going to bring to the company. Employees were able to get in any questions and concerns during this tour, which helped everyone get a better idea of what improvements could be achieved in the new facility.
Cook expresses that there is plenty of room to expand, looking over the expanse of land that is unoccupied in the new location. The move began December 19, as movers, employees and contractors worked together to get the building up and running before the holiday. There is much more work to be done as Cook hopes for “continuous improvement” and additional growth for 2015 and into the future.