Engineering Solutions

Trainor and Associates improve efficiencies for area businesses.

Bob Trainor (left), owner of Trainor and Associates, with Chris Long, owner of Newberry Tanks & Equipment

photograph by Larry Kuzniewski

Survivors aren’t just characters on a desert island who compete amongst themselves to avoid being jettisoned. Survivors are people like Robert P. “Bob” Trainor, an industrial engineer who has gone out on his own twice, with his latest stretch in business at 22 years and counting.
“And it ain’t for the faint of heart,” he says.
Trainor owns and co-operates Trainor and Associates to help companies improve their productivity and, by extension, their bottom lines. Trainor’s clients range from aircraft parts distributors to saddle makers and everything in between: “It’s a very broad world that we work in.”
Over the years, Trainor’s profession has taken him around the country and farther afield to Canada and Mexico.
In late 2011, he helped an old friend and business associate in West Memphis improve work flow at a recently acquired manufacturing facility. Although he didn’t cite any numbers, Chris Long, president and manager of Newberry Tanks & Equipment, says the 35-employee business he bought in March has shown noticeable improvement since Trainor came on the scene.
“Bob starts with the industrial engineering discipline as the foundation for his practice and then builds on that using lean enterprise concepts, and can improve the performance of any business,” Long says.
Newberry makes heavy-metal storage tanks in a variety of sizes and colors. The tanks are used for storing gas at service stations, for agriculture, and for other purposes. Each one is custom made.
Trainor’s main task at Newberry was to identify how Long’s workers could eliminate wasted time and effort to enhance profitability. The company has two shops in addition to its warehouse and office space.
Since most businesses these days tend to sacrifice workers for short-term financial gains, Trainor tries to suggest ways to improve without harming the human capital. His ultimate goal is to find efficiencies, but also to create buy-in from the men and women who operate on a company’s front lines.  
“There are a lot of things that can be done before it’s time to exit an environment,” Trainor says.
Sometimes, the process is as simple as walking around and observing how some workers use different tools in one part of an operation while their counterparts elsewhere are stymied by older or less efficient techniques. At other times, entire plant layouts have to be redesigned to make work flow in a more timely and orderly fashion.
“We don’t work as an island,” Trainor says. “We’re very much involved with the people who will work [in a specific area] and can take ownership.”
Trainor prefers to work with business owners who are passionate about their operations and are willing to invest in making things better for everyone.
“I want to help others succeed,” Trainor says. “I really do.”

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