Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012 - (Page 100)

U.S. Sugar Corp. / Annual revenues: $600 million (estimated) / Headquarters: Clewiston, Fla. / Employees: 1,700 / Specialty: Sugar and citrus production / Robert Buker Jr., president: “We’ve managed to lower our unit cost by increasing automation [and] using fewer people and less equipment.” Sweetening the Pot u.s. sugar has revamped its entire sugar manufacturing line, resulting in a significant production increase and improvement. by barbara mchatton u.s. sugar corp. is the largest producer of food-grade cane sugar in the united states Realizing the competition from heavily subsidized foreign sugar producers was ramping up – as well as worldwide demand – made U.S. Sugar Corp. look at its operations. “We were traditionally a company that farmed and made non-foodgrade product,” President Robert Buker Jr. says. “We had no precision management or data collection systems in place.” He adds that the company’s business model depended on a lot of labor with not much analysis on how it could be done more efficiently. In 2006, U.S. Sugar decided to make a change. With the help of Life Cycle Engineering, an independent 100 WINTER 2012 management consulting firm, and Trimble, a GPS positioning technology consultant, plans were put in place to not only increase its sugar production, but also improve its operations while reducing costs and waste. A strategy was established that set standards for all facets of the company’s operation: work management, materials management, reliability engineering and operational efficiency. It is a strategy that has paid off for the company. Currently the largest producer of food-grade cane sugar in the United States, the company has increased its overall production capacity by 12 percent. Its most recent year- end harvest was 6.95 million tons of raw sugarcane – a million tons more than its closest U.S. competitor. This yielded 772,892 tons of raw sugar and 41 million gallons of molasses. Thanks to both U.S. Sugar’s operational excellence strategy and favorable weather conditions, this surpassed pre-season estimates of 631,000 tons of raw sugar and 38 million gallons of molasses. “We’ve reinvented our company,” Buker reports. “We’ve managed to lower our unit cost by increasing automation, using fewer people and less equipment, but using those resources more effectively.” He says by implementing the best technology and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012

Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012
Wauseon Machine
Applied Energy Solutions
Carter Control Systems
Global Technology Systems
Positech Corp.
Tampa Tank Inc./Florida Structural Steel
Carbide Products
Datacard Group
Fullerton Tool Co. Inc.
Honda of South Carolina
Fintube LLC
Sapa Extrusions North America
ACE Controls Inc.
Vendors Exchange International Inc.
EXEL North America
DJO Global
Capewell Components Co.
U.S. Sugar Corp.
Industrial Magnetics Inc.
Lakeside Plastics Ltd.
Norpak Handling Ltd.
Mid-State Machine Products
TenCate Protective Fabrics
The Dupps Co.
Western Manufacturing Ltd.
Wisconsin Plastics Inc.
Metrolina Greenhouses
LaSalle Bristol LP
Clarion Bathware
DAP Products Inc.
Honsa Ergonomic Technologies Inc.
Engineered Material Solutions LLC
Master Spas Inc.
Nypro Inc.
Kelly-Moore Paints
Palomar Technologies
U.S. Chemical & Plastics Inc.
Varflex Corporation
Votaw Precision Technologies
Watry Industries
Wigwam Mills
Banker Steel Co.
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Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012