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Overview

Located in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, Good Food, Inc. was founded in 1980 by seasoned entrepreneurs who were looking to expand their family business, Zook Molasses Company. Zook Molasses was founded in 1934, and the original business model entailed molasses blending to produce cooking and baking supplies sold under the Golden Barrel label. But, overtime, the company’s success led to 200 more various blends of liquid sweeteners and syrups packed in retail, food service, and bulk tanker loads. Due to their expanding business and ongoing success, Good Foods has increased their total liquid storage to a staggering 153,000 gallons (38 truck loads). Their Honey Brook facility has approximately 260,000 square feet of production and warehouse space and includes 17 liquid blenders and three inline machines for syrups.

Since the company was founded more than 80 years ago, their operation has changed drastically. On a daily basis, workers manufacture around 1,250 boxes of food product, which are shipped out to various locations on large pallets. Each pallet contains between 45 and 50 boxes and workers in the shipping department are tasked with loading around 25 pallets each day. This process was completed manually for more than 70 years, but as business expanded, so too did the need for a better lifting process.

Solution

Workers in the company’s shipping department were tasked with lifting the 1,250 boxes produced each day, placing them on the pallets, and moving the pallets to trucks—manually. The process was labor intensive and very strenuous on workers. The plant operations manager became increasingly concerned about the health of his workers, and eventually reached out to a local Spanco distributor to inquire about a material handling solution. The distributor came out to see their facility and to observe their sipping process in order to determine the best material handling solution to meet their needs. After thoroughly inspecing their operation, he recommended a lightweight, durable, Freestanding Workstation Jib Crane from Spanco.   

The 150-pound capacity jib crane was installed in one of their packaging/shipping areas to help workers lift products from the conveyor and transfer them onto pallets. According to Good Food’s General Manager Paul Leininger, “The Jib Crane has helped us to package and ship heavy products with much more efficiency. One of the reasons we bought this particular product was to avoid injuries, but it also allows us to have more flexibility in our staffing. We’ve had the best operation with this jib, which led us to buy more cranes from Spanco. “

Impact

It’s true: Good Foods, Inc. was so impressed with their new Freestanding Workstation Jib Crane that they reached out to their distributor again to have another system installed in their dry packaging line. As was the case with their liquid blenders and syrups, workers had to manually lift 40-pound bags and load them onto pallets each day—every day. Forty pounds may not sound like a lot, but manually lifting hundreds and even thousands of 40-pound bags of flour can be dangerous and ineffective.  One worker was in charge of two pallet lines, which caused a lot of back strain and resulted in numerous workmen’s compensation claims. Further injuries occurred when new employees who weren’t familiar with safe, effective lifting began moving the heavy bags onto the pallets. This was particularly true for workers moving upwards of 80 pallets per shift. The addition of more workers didn’t prevent numerous back strains from occurring. The plant operations manager and the general manager both felt strongly about installing another Spanco system to alleviate safety concerns and prevent further injury.

For the dry line packaging, their local distributor recommended a 250-pound capacity Ceiling-Mounted Workstation Bridge Crane from Spanco. The system includes a 30-foot runway with a 12-foot bridge that moves on the X- and Y-axis. This ergonomic design provides material handling for a large rectangular coverage area, without creating additional obstructions on the ground below. The overhead system includes a vacuum attachment, which makes lifting bags of dried products like flour fast and easy. Now, workers can lift numerous bags and stack them on skids without concern for their health and safety. The new crane has not only improved efficiency and time management, it’s decreased costs associated with worker injuries and provided the peace of mind that workers aren’t at risk for back strain. According to the plant manager, the Ceiling-Mounted Workstation Bridge Crane was shipping ahead of schedule and so well packaged that it was in mint condition when they received it. It took five minutes for operators to learn how to use it, and they’ve trained almost all of their employees to be a qualified operator to ensure staffing flexibility and safe use of the new equipment. Now, if someone calls out sick, managers can easily swap out another worker to take their place. Production has improved drastically and the removal of manual lifting has eliminated the need for workman compensation claims almost altogether.