Aurora Lampworks restores historic lighting fixtures, converts international fixtures for US compliancy, and creates contemporary designs from their studio in Brooklyn, NY.
Led by founder Dawn Ladd, Aurora Lampworks has been a leader in the restoration of lighting fixtures for 40 years. The company specializes in restoring, replicating, and custom fixtures for landmark buildings, museums, as well as individual collections. As an UL (Underwriters Laboratories) shop, an important aspect of Aurora’s business is to certify and upgrade fixtures to current codes.
While Aurora Lampworks’ facility spans 7,500 square feet, they were experiencing space and efficiency issues due to the lengthy process involved with each project. Shipments are often sent from overseas in crates and, once a shipment is received, the first step of the intake is to open the crates, unwrap their contents, photograph, and document the current condition of each piece. This portion of intake requires a significant amount of table space and time, as project proposals are submitted for approval before work can begin. Because of this, vital workspace was often tied up with these pending projects.
ITAC was contacted to help the company increase efficiency and maximize their working footprint.
The space utilization initiative that ITAC suggested started with a team discussion on implementation of a 5S strategy. This involved a commitment of the staff to sort through, and then recycle or organize, all the various parts and metals accumulated over the decades. “Decluttering” was the first major step in overhauling the space.
Afterwards, a thorough walk-through was completed by ITAC’s engineering partner. It was clear that the team needed fewer tables and more storage, so they could review and prepare a project, then safely put it away until they were ready to begin the actual work. CAD drawings were then created, suggesting new placements of machinery and the creation of new shelving. They also identified floor space on an upper level of the facility that was underutilized. Once there was a drawing in hand, the vision became clear, and the reorganization began.
The plan extended to the company’s exterior, which included a side yard. A 20 foot storage container was purchased, and almost immediately filled, creating more space for active projects to be worked on.
ITAC also connected the company with the Workforce Development Institute. Their grant funding helped cover some of the costs of the training, CAD drawings, and storage systems.
The company points to these key benefits from this project:
- An initial goal was to hire two new team members. Because of the space utilization and new efficiencies, they were able to hire four new staff. There is now more space for production, and opportunities to take on more business.
- Production efficiency has increased significantly. Prior to this project, a team member would need to first clear a working space. Having storage units allows the team to open crates, bid jobs, and safely store the projects until they are ready to be worked on.
- New organization systems allow staff to readily find the parts they are looking for and to clean up after each project. The team shares, “When everything has a place, it is more likely that tools and parts will be put back. All of our screws, nuts and bolts are now organized. The value of organization cannot be underestimated.”
Aurora Lampworks is very pleased with the impact of this project. Dawn Ladd expressed that, “The program took some courage to go through with the expense and reorganization, but the ITAC team was correct when they said it would be well worth it. After all these years in business, I am on the cusp of having the shop I have always wanted.”