The Resource Center and Zurn Industries are nearing completion on a project that is seeing employees with disabilities at TRC's Jamestown Work Center assemble 67,000 fixtures used in faucets and drinking fountains.
The project had its beginnings more than a year ago. Officials from Zurn's Falconer plant met with representatives from The Resource Center to discuss the possibility of having The Resource Center assemble fixtures. In July 2010, Zurn accepted The Resource Center's bid to perform the work. From late August through mid December 2009, The Resource Center developed production layouts and methods, performed sample runs and obtained production approval from Zurn.
The Resource Center began assembling the fixtures in late January and has been producing about 1,500 units per week. The contract is for 67,000 units, and it is anticipated the last assemblies will be completed in December. The fixtures are used on single and double slow-closing metering faucets and drinking fountains. Two people with disabilities work assemble all of the fixtures.
Geoff Thorp of Zurn Industries, left, and Steve Hauck, marketing specialist for The Resource Center, look over Randy Houghwot’s shoulder as he assembles a faucet fixture.
Randy Houghwot works on a fixture.
The Resource Center has been performing subcontracting work for local businesses for more than 40 years. Expertise in assembly projects and an always-available labor supply mean The Resource Center can meet the manufacturing needs of many types of businesses. The Zurn project involved assembling 11 parts for each fixture.
"Zurn starting using TRC on a few simpler, short-term projects several years ago, and they proved to be capable and dependable. They became a cost-effective way of getting some projects completed that our head count didn't support," Geoff Thorp of Zurn's quality assurance department said earlier this year. "Based on those experiences, we kicked off a long-term project on a fairly complex valve assembly. TRC and Zurn worked closely together to establish a good process. We are currently at zero defects after about 24,000 valves."
He noted that TRC has performed better than any other subcontractor with which Zurn has worked.
TRC also is performing Zurn's third-party inspection, which keeps one to four workers with disabilities consumers busy much of the time. Some of the third-party inspection is done on site at Zurn's Falconer plant.
"Our success with the third-party inspection has led to the Falconer plant recommending us to their North Carolina plant as a source for third-party inspection as well," said Steve Hauck, marketing specialist at The Resource Center.
Though Zurn has announced plans to close its Falconer plant soon, the company intends to continue providing work for people with disabilities at The Resource Center.
The Resource Center provides employment opportunities to hundreds of people with disabling conditions, either in the community or at TRC's Work Centers in Jamestown, Dunkirk and Buffalo. If interested in learning about the advantages of hiring people with disabilities, or for more information about employment opportunities for people with disabilities, call The Resource Center at 483-2344.