Spotlight on Success: Leveraging lean for an organization-wide efficiency transformation

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Apr 24, 2018 11:34:34 AM

Advantage Components, Inc.  |  60 employees  |  www.aciwires.com

ACi is a contract cable and wire harness manufacturer located in Joliet, Illinois.

SITUATION

In early 2014, Advantage Components, Inc. (ACi) began to see exponential growth in sales and subsequent production. But with space constrained in their current facility, the company knew it was time to make room in the existing facility or expand beyond their four walls. ACi leadership, had previous experience working with the principles of lean manufacturing and were interested in committing to increasing efficiencies in the current space before committing to a new facility. Through a quick online search of experts in the field of lean, ACi discovered IMEC.

SOLUTION

For ACi leadership, it was imperative they lay a strong foundation in lean manufacturing with their entire team. By kicking off with a Lean 101 and following the core education with several kaizen events, SMED training, inventory, and facility layout activities, ACi has realized a tremendous initial increase in productivity amongst staff and in their levels of manufacturing output. “Moving through the implementation activities with IMEC has been a huge help,” said Mike Burman, Vice President of Sales and Engineering ACi. “One of the best things about IMEC and their expertise is that they are hands on. Everyone that has been onsite at our facility has dug in and gotten involved – they didn’t just write a report. They wanted to move machines on the spot and make immediate improvements. This really resonated with our team and encouraged them to become more involved in the projects.”

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Made in Illinois Featured Company: Metamora Industries

Posted by Marketing Support on Apr 13, 2018 3:54:56 PM

Metamora Industries started out in 1929 as a simple machine shop with a simple goal: to give their customers the highest quality products and service. While their original goal has not changed over the years, they have grown to include an extensive list of manufacturing capabilities-offering machining, fabricating, tube bending and more, all from one reliable source.

Metamora Industries is proud to have achieved the industry's highest standards for continuous improvement, defect prevention and waste reduction. They stand apart from their competitors with their ability to anticipate and act on what customers need in the future.  To aid with this process they constantly update procedures and training.  Metamora Industries is equipped with solutions to help get customers where they want to go.

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Made in Chicago Featured Company: Illinois Window Shade Company

Posted by Marketing Support on Apr 12, 2018 2:46:37 PM

At Illinois Window Shade Company (IWS) their superior shade systems effectively manage solar heat and glare, providing outstanding levels of comfort, energy efficiency and privacy.  Home of the PowerMove® and SmoothMove® solar shade systems, IWS manufactures superior shade systems that effectively manage solar light and heat transmissions.

Since 1905, IWS has built a reputation within the architect and design community as a trusted source for custom shade solutions for commercial and residential projects.  The company has completed projects all around the Chicago area.  Their mission to provide custom solutions for solar control challenges through a simple, efficient customer service process using proven manufacturing processes.

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Visionary Leadership: Keys to a Successful Continuous Improvement Transformation

Posted by Roger Shrum on Apr 11, 2018 7:37:00 AM

Written by Roger Shrum, IMEC Regional Manager

In my work with manufacturers, I’ll encounter leaders who are frustrated with the slow pace of implementation of their continuous improvement programs.  They are concerned that they are not seeing the payback they were hoping for.  What I share with them is sometimes unsettling: Many enterprise-wide lean deployment programs become stalled because the top manager in the company has not clearly articulated his/her personal vision and committed to making it successful.

In one example, a company I was advising faced chronic late delivery problems, which jeopardized its reputation with longstanding customers and opened the door for its competitors to take business away.  The company was forced to work significant overtime and expedite production just to stay in the game. This company had a history of waiting for a downturn in business to shore up its delivery performance. Along the way, they “dabbled” in implementing lean methods, but as orders increased, a full lean implementation was shelved.  In retrospect, these well-meaning, busy leaders now realize that they may have missed an opportunity for significant growth by not positioning the company to adequately meet customer needs during the upside of the cycle.  

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Industrial Cybersecurity for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses (Whitepaper)

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Apr 5, 2018 8:30:17 AM

Whitepaper and executive summary provided by the ISA, a technology and workforce training partner of IMEC.

Effective cybersecurity management is essential for all organizations, regardless of size. There are many standards and guidance documents available to help organizations determine a way forward.

The ISA whitepaper “Industrial Cybersecurity for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses” is intended to provide a starting point for SMBs, particularly those that manage industrial processes and employ some level of automation. Specific examples include SMBs in the chemical, water, or wastewater treatment sectors.

While it is generally accepted that Operational Technology (OT) system security requires different or additional measures than general-purpose Information Technology (IT) system security, it is also true that smaller companies might have difficulty implementing much of the available guidance.

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Made in Illinois Featured Company: National Coatings Inc.

Posted by Marketing Support on Apr 4, 2018 4:35:28 PM

National Coatings Inc. is a leading supplier of a very diversified selection of high quality, peak performance coatings for use on metal, plastic, tubular, paper & wood surfaces.  The company's innovative technical development system utilizes the latest advance quality planning techniques to provide the user with products designed for customer and industry specific applications for performance requirements.

National's team of highly trained, dedicated and experienced technical and application specialists provide support for the latest ASTM testing to customer and industry standards.  National Coatings provides not just a product, but a company with a mission to provide the ultimate in quality, support and customer services.

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Made in Chicago Featured Company: E2 Manufacturing Group

Posted by Marketing Support on Apr 4, 2018 4:35:13 PM

E2 Manufacturing Group is a full-service plastic injection molding and contract manufacturing company. They proudly manufacture volume (low/high) production, and prototype parts and assemblies for a wide variety of clients and markets. Since 1998 they've pursued manufacturing perfection with a precise mix of quality, service, delivery and price.

E2's 25 years of experience in the molding, tooling, prototyping, and engineering fields guarantee 100% customer satisfaction. Their services include turn key molding, automated assembly solutions, as well as continued dedication to new technologies. E2's goal is to stay on the cutting edge of technology in the manufacturing industry by providing both the finest manufacturing equipment and people in the world.

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Food for Thought about Entering or Surviving in the Food Industry

Posted by Ken Wunderlich on Apr 2, 2018 8:20:00 AM

Food Safety rules, regulations and requirements apply to many types of companies, even some you might not think of, like ingredients and packaging suppliers, the packers themselves, warehousing and storage providers, trucking and logistics partners… every company that handles food on the journey from farm to table.  If your company handles or touches products in the food chain, or if you want to get into that industry, there are strict rules you have to play by, but they don’t need to be overwhelming.

Companies big and small make important contributions putting food on the table locally and worldwide.  Small farmers, for example, serve a vital role in supplying local farmers’ markets and retailers, where Food Safety management is a little less daunting because they literally control the process from the farm to the shelf.  You’ve heard it before, and it’s true:  Small Farmers are the backbone of America, and many make a good honest living supplying their local communities. 

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Employee Safety, Workplace Risk Management the focus of the new ISO 45001

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Mar 30, 2018 8:15:00 AM

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently released the new ISO 45001 standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS). Published on March 12, 2018,  ISO 45001 provides a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better and safer conditions for workers everywhere.

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Made in Illinois Featured Company: Greenwood Plastics Industries

Posted by Marketing Support on Mar 29, 2018 1:42:47 PM

At Greenwood Plastics Industries they believe in relationships – the kind of relationships that lead to smart production.  The Darby family started Greenwood Plastics in Danville, Illinois, more than 30 years ago. Today, three generations are involved in the day-to-day operations. Proud to be an American manufacturer, GPI employs more than 75 people.

Greenwood Plastics focuses on creating versatile, speedy and cost-effective custom plastics with GPI thermoforming (vacuum forming).  The company services the airline, healthcare, railroad, and retail industries with specific products like containers and tubs.  The manufacturer can offer quotes on an array of projects.

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