For Mary Phelan, it all boils down to CIRAS being a sounding board she can trust. Phelan, program manager for government and defense at Polo Custom Products in Monticello, has been working closely with the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) for roughly two years.
Michael Nunn is still searching for the perfect product improvement idea. But thanks to some help from CIRAS, Nunn now believes he’s on the correct path.
America’s health care industry was running wild in 2008. Costs were out of control, and Trinity Hospital in Muscatine was struggling to keep up. The small institution lost $6.8 million that year, and it ultimately sought financial stability in a merger with the Iowa Health System. Trinity’s new corporate parent (now known as UnityPoint Health) spent the next few years finding a myriad of new back-office efficiencies to save money, said Angela Johnson, current executive director of the hospital’s Muscatine campus. But by 2012, it nevertheless had become clear that broader change was still needed in Muscatine.
No, this isn’t an article about spring water or hot tubs! “SPA” stands for “Simplified Purchase Agreement,” a method of purchasing set up by the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and available to use by various federal agencies for their printing needs. As an alternative to relying on the GPO for soliciting their opportunities, agencies typically find SPA procedures to be more relaxing (see what I did there?).
Iowa State University’s Polymer and Food Protection Consortium has added a plastic manufacturing expert to help Iowa companies deal with their growing focus on the safety and effectiveness of food packaging.
A Davenport maker of robotic systems is rethinking how material flows through its factory after participants in a spring Lean Safety event outlined a list of ways that the company could improve.
A Des Moines commercial door and security company improved efficiency and shaved roughly $200,000 off its costs after CIRAS assistance helped the company upgrade its inventory handling. Dave Hunt, hardware inventory control manager for Walsh Door & Security, said his company went from carrying roughly $600,000 worth of door hardware at its Des Moines warehouse to roughly $430,000. The difference was made possible by a 2017 CIRAS class that helped Walsh become more professional about calculating what the company really needed on hand to meet its customers’ needs.
America’s healthcare industry is a challenging, complicated, and fascinating laboratory where talented people are making regular gains through the benefits of continuous improvement. Want to learn more about it? The Iowa Lean Consortium hopes to share some of the stories behind those gains next month when it hosts the ILC’s 2nd Annual Lean Healthcare Exchange on August 29 in Coralville.
Doors will formally open next month on a new facility that CIRAS hopes will help take the risk out of new technologies for Iowa manufacturers.
The government contracting journey can be very challenging. Companies have to do their homework and not rest on the notion that, if they are registered on SAM or state/local agencies, they will be “discovered" by government customers. The registration system is a useful tool for a government agency to conduct market research, bid notifications, etc. But this is NOT a game of, "They're supposed to buy from us because we’re a set-aside, a TSB, etc.”