Innovation was the word of the day Wednesday as business leaders and professionals learned from a company that has mastered it during a “Holiday Bump-In” event at the T-Bones Pier Eleven restaurant in La Porte.
Representatives from Hiler Industries, a La Porte-based company that has produced shell metal castings for more than six decades, gave an overview of how they have been innovative in an industry that has been around since the oldest casting was made circa 3200 B.C.
Earl Miller, plant engineer at Hiler, said the company enacted a process improvement team to come up with new ideas, a quality team to make internal improvements, a safety-training team and a molding department team “specifically designed to improve our molding department.”
The greatest payback, Miller said, was a new process of weighing molds that saves about $250,000 a year.
Jim Jessup, facilitator and former executive director at Leadership La Porte County, is a member of the board of the Pfeil Innovation Center in South Bend, a group dedicated to helping organizations “develop innovation as a core competency.”
Pfeil organized the event Wednesday, with hopes to “drum up local businesses” to innovation, Jessup said.
“Hiler has been a star in the region on this and we want to show them off and encourage other businesses to do the things they have,” he said.
A two-day training event, called “immersions,” occur about once a month, and Jessup wants as many La Porte County businesses there as possible.
“It is state of the art innovation training, and to have it in our own backyard is simply amazing,” he said.