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Matheson Flight Extenders Develops an Innovative, Leading-Edge Productivity Model to Improve Efficiency

Visit Matheson's booth #38 at the IATA World Cargo Symposium, Los Angeles, Mar. 11-13, 2014

LOS ANGELES, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Matheson Flight Extenders has launched a comprehensive continuous improvement program designed to save time, eliminate waste and enhance operational efficiency to better serve its customers and increase profitability.

"We already achieve industry-leading on time performance results well above 99 percent, but there is always room for production model upgrades that can mean the difference between business as usual and setting the gold standard for the shipping industry," said Glen Gates, president of Matheson Flight Extenders.  "When a truck comes into our dock, the packages go through 16 individual handling processes before they go out. The key to future success in our industry is based on our ability to continue to discover and implement operational efficiencies."

He said in order to innovate, you first must realize that you have gaps, take steps to correct them and then implement best practices throughout your organization. "Just as Olympic athletes have to find ways to shave hundredths of a second off their runs to move from Bronze to Gold, shippers have to do all they can to stay competitive, add value and increase revenue when margin per pound is measured in hundreds or even thousands of a cent.  We're looking for ways to the right of the decimal point where we can improve."

To achieve incremental productivity gains, Matheson engaged a time-and-motion consultant to study its workflow processes.  Recommendations included relocating equipment to reduce steps, and combining functions to streamline package-handling operations. "For example, we get paid based on our scanned data, so we've started to replace devices that require two hands to operate with those that only need one, that way, a material handler can scan and lift at the same time," Mr. Gates said.

Tim Noel, General Manager for Matheson, conducted a performance improvement study that led to a review of station manager's priorities with the intent of having them focus more on productivity, unit cost reduction and asset utilization.

"If you spend less time to move the same amount of goods and adjust your metrics from pieces and hours to pieces per man hour you will achieve significant productivity," Mr. Noel said. "We conducted a basic economics study in June 2013 to identify targets and quantify gains and are also incorporating commercial best practices, safety initiatives and quality controls from other industries. The plan includes expanding this program nationwide while educating our people on how to achieve plan objectives. We will also incentivize them by making bonuses contingent on hitting productivity targets."

This strategy is already paying off. For example, when another overnight package handler declared bankruptcy, Matheson acquired one of its key locations and turned a monthly deficit into a break-even within 30 days using the firm's new productivity formula.  Matheson's long-term innovation and productivity strategy also includes the following components:

  • Co-locating Matheson operations at customer sites to save time and money;
  • Moving within airport grounds to be closer to delivery and pickup points;
  • Seeking incremental revenues from airlines providing ground support equipment operations, package sort and under wing services;
  • Recruiting new commercial accounts near each existing Matheson location;
  • Taking responsibility for other carrier's shipments on selected routes under contract;
  • Establishing a network of regional package processing service hubs across the U.S., and by
  • Having a dedicated fleet of trucks and package handling equipment without having to work through brokers.

"In January we announced plans to increase plant utilization by 60 percent and these initiatives are part of this program. We want to give our customers and prospective clients a host of reasons to do business with us. It's a partnership and we bring a high level of expertise and more than four decades of experience that says we will do everything we can to be efficient and profitable," Mr. Gates said.

"By providing information about our internal innovation processes, we're saying we are ready to do the same for you. At the end of the day, our goal is to build on Matheson's promise and value proposition embodied in our service guarantee and track record of trust, quick response, flexibility, on-time, safe and on-budget performance."

Established in 1972, Matheson Flight Extenders provides a comprehensive range of ground support and terminal handling services to its customers. MFE has 560 employees, access to a fleet of 300 trucks and 1,200 pieces of package handling equipment kept in good condition at the company's network of 11 wholly owned fleet maintenance shops centrally located in California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Washington State. MFE has secure on and off-airport operations in 18 major U.S. hub cities, including Albuquerque, Anchorage, Billings, Boise, Cincinnati, Denver, Great Falls, Las Vegas, Louisville, Phoenix, Portland, Reno, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Spokane, Sioux Falls and Tucson.

SOURCE Matheson Flight Extenders

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