Cooper Fire Protection Services (CFPS) is a 40-year old company serving the Four Corners area from its base in Farmington. The company, which employs about 40 workers, designs, fabricates, installs and maintains fire protection systems in New Mexico and Colorado.
Owners Ireke and Shantel Cooper — and Ireke’s parents, who previously owned the company — have stayed on top of changing fire codes and best-practices through the years. They offer a nationally-accredited sprinkler installation apprenticeship program through the National Fire Sprinkler Association and have a training lab for fire departments and facilities managers on their business premises.
Customer job sites can be more than an hour away from the CFPS fabrication shop, and management noticed multiple trips to job sites caused by communication lapses. The company first partnered with New Mexico MEP to address the issue through Lean Manufacturing workshops and simulation. Management and staff also attended a New Mexico MEP workshop on Lean Pull Kanban.
Working one-on-one with CFPS, New Mexico MEP created a Value Stream Map that allowed company owners to visualize transportation routes and processes that save time and money. They also mapped a plan to attract applicants for hard-to-fill staff positions that are regulated by National Fire Sprinkler Association compliance rules.
The outcome? Apprentice classroom and testing time is now part of the standard work week, resulting in an increased number of apprentices reaching their compliance goals. With New Mexico MEP’s help, CFPS has become an expert in inventory management, electronic scheduling and tracking, and field-work staging. Other manufacturers have turned to CFPS for advice on integrated inventory and IT control because their detailed system of checks, balances and follow-up has increased job efficiency. CFPS owners, who now have more time to focus on their business, have seen these benefits:
- Unscheduled job site deliveries have decreased by 30 percent.
- Pre-planning of work has reduced overtime hours and job site returns by 30 percent.
- Internal staff promotions, new-hires and new positions have increased by 8 percent.
- Task re-work has decreased by 50 percent.
“NM MEP assisted in rolling out IT integration, inventory control and an electronic calendar,” said company president Ireke Cooper. Shantel Cooper, Co-owner and Vice President, added, “Thanks New Mexico MEP for being a partner in changing communication, roles, tasks and leadership for all.”