Lead Forensics

Clabber Girl

Terre Haute, Indiana


When you think baking powder, you likely think of Clabber Girl. The name has been synonymous with the baking world for more than 130 years. The Indiana company is clearly more than that today, with its Clabber Girl and Rumford baking powder brands, selling No. 1 and No. 2 in the market. It boasts 280-plus products - from cornstarch and cookie and dessert mixes, to coffee, gelatins and freezer pops.

The family-owned business didn't become a dominant player by resting on its success. Instead, Clabber Girl has continued to evolve. In the early 2000s, the company diversified the primarily retail baking powder business to include formulation for food service, industrial applications and private-label brands. Clabber Girl also expanded its offerings to include cornstarch, dessert, baking and cookie mixes.

Situation:

Clabber Girl executives were in the early stages of a five-year strategic plan, and turned to experts through the Purdue University Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) for help in incorporating Lean manufacturing principles to identify and eliminate waste and improve quality. This is no typical partnership. It's a "Clabberation" for this iconic company. Employees sport a red patch on their shirt pockets, testifying to their united commitment to the benefits of Lean manufacturing.

Solution:

Purdue worked with Clabber Girl to implement Lean manufacturing principles.

Results:

No wonder. Results throughout the 200-employee company have been significant and immediate:

  • Self-directed teams now work to optimize production flow as well as increase efficiencies and decrease waste.
  • Changeover times were cut an average of 20 minutes per line, including a whole-grain cookies line that saw a 40-minute reduction in changeover time.
  • The 0.6% reduction in waste will save $317,000 in 2013.

It is amazing to see the staff on the plant floor really have buy-in to the concept. They see the value in Lean and are doing value-stream mapping on their own without prompting from management.” 

-Gary Morris, President and Chief Operating Officer, Clabber Girl

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