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Creativity, Innovation Drive Toy Manufacturing Success

By Christine Torres

Sign cautions pinch point hazard

It took a lot of physical and mental power for toy manufacturer Cortex Toys to prepare for not only its April 2018 launch, but to also sustain growth and demand through the holidays. Little did the company know, they would acquire additional work and distribution space by November. The company snapped up a 43,500 square foot manufacturing building to prepare for even more growth. This rapid growth requires strategic planning to consider employment growth, lean manufacturing methods, and efficient distribution methods for on-time delivery – especially during the bustling season. 

Tedious Toy Making

According to data research company Statista, the number of jobs in the U.S. toy industry have been on an upward trend. More than 46,000 jobs were added to the toy industry between 2015 and 2017. In 2017, there were more than 334,000 toy industry-related jobs that include manufacturing, wholesalers, distribution and retail.

Retail sales of the toys and games market is estimated at more than $20 billion. Some of the industry heavy manufacturing hitters are Mattel, Lego, and Hasbro. So how does a company add a fresh new face to the industry?

The toy manufacturing wheels began turning for neurosurgeon John Cowan of Georgia, and he found a way to stimulate “creativity, innovation, and fun.” He is president of Cortex Toys, a multifaceted toy company committed to innovation, education and imagination for those of all ages. He began collecting products by inventors, acquiring innovations that combined industry trends and creativity.

“I have always had a passion for creativity and innovation, the reason I started Cortex Toys,” said Cowan. “Although my background is in neurosurgery and this is an entirely new industry, I am looking forward to the evolution of Cortex, building strong partnerships across the toy industry and having a lot of fun along the way.”

Illustration of Santa's Toy Workshop

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Build a Business Using Lean

Toy manufacturing workers of all types, from engineers and assemblers to machine operators, are a big part of making kids around the world smile. This time of year, stress and demand can be high. Imagine thousands of toy manufacturing facilities as part of Santa’s workshop. Warehouses need to be on top of new ways to keep up with demand now more than ever by improving and updating work processes.

Lean tools such as 5S help facilities across all industries improve efficiency and eliminate downtime by leveraging visual communication and lean workplace practices. Using 5S labels and color-coding methods, workers can quickly identify tools, supplies, and procedures at the point-of-use. Floor marking is also useful for efficiency and safety. Outline work stations, direct the flow of traffic, indicate safe boundaries, and more using floor signs and tape. Opportunities are vast to ease the challenge of a growing workplace using lean manufacturing tools.

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