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Prisma expands space

9,000-square-foot manufacturing area allows for efficient workflow

GIRARD — Prisma Integration has added 5,600 square feet to its manufacturing space here, a move that lets the Italian company streamline its operation and one that positions it for further client and employee growth.

Up until the manufacturing process coalesced into the 9,000-square-foot space late last year, panel assemblers worked in limited space and the pieces and parts they needed were kept in various other parts of the building.

That “made for some inherent disorganization, made for some inherent workflow inefficiencies … so with the expansion, what it allowed us to do (is) what I call linearize our workflow process to follow the natural flow of how we build control panels,” said Rich Gunter, chief operating officer of the Girard plant.

Now, everything an assembler needs to build a panel is contained in one space. The addition also allows the company to have up to 16 workstations.

“We have the agility and flexibility to rearrange workstations in the event we have a very large panel to build that may be four or five sections long, or if we get an order that has us do mass production of the same panel over and over again, we can create somewhat of an assembly line with properly staged materials, particular task stations to effectively produce what we have been asked to,” Gunter said.

The company employs 12 panel builders and other staff, including engineers and office staff, whose workspaces were remodeled during the expansion. The previous storage space for panel building was transformed into office and training space.

“With our vision, one of the strategies is to become technologically as diverse as possible in what we are able to offer as far as our skill set … we can accommodate any customer’s particular type of hardware, computer hardware, control hardware to make us more of an attractive company,” Gunter said.

The expansion and remodel cost $500,000 to $600,000.

It opens the door for Prisma to bring on four more full-time electrical engineers and up to four more panel assemblers.

The company also is considering a second shift before the end of the year.

Prisma Impianti acquired Premier Integration in 2018.

“We were scouting the area for acquiring a company so we could grow much faster than just growing organically,” said Manuel Alfonso, CEO of Prisma Integration. “I think it was a perfect match because our competencies are similar in Italy and the goal would be to grow this facility by doing joint projects together so they can understand how we deal with larger scope, larger projects with other industries.”

Logistics and location were key, Alfonso said. The plant on Harry Street is minutes away from Interstate 80 and also Youngstown State University, a resource that could supply the company with skilled employees and engineers.

“After this physical expansion our goal would be to increase capabilities, skills, so it would be more growth for each engineer that we already hired or will hire in the future,” Alfonso said.

Said Gunter, “If you look at this in phases, this particular expansion in and of itself allowed us to increase our resources in manufacturing, basically we have doubled our capability with people to handle additional volume. In our engineering department, it’s similar. We have the capability to add, with the existing space, four or five more engineers, two more designers. That would max us out with the space we have, but we believe we can increase the volume of sale because of our skill set, our efficiency improvement and the types of projects we have with the existing staff or hiring just one or two more people.”

The Girard location is the company’s only North American plant. It has other offices in Peru and Italy, where the company is headquartered.

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