Lean Best Practices & The Role of AR as a Lean Manufacturing Tool

Posted by Simone Erskine on Mar 22, 2019 10:32:00 AM

This is an original article, written by Ed Sowoski of Light Guide Systems.

As a lean practitioner of many years, I have had the privilege of applying lean concepts in many different businesses including project engineering, repetitive manufacturing, process manufacturing and even in a sales capacity. I’ve had to apply lean principles in areas where the cycle times ranged from seconds to days, which allowed me to apply lean manufacturing tools in very different ways.

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The Fundamentals to Begin a Lean Transformation

Posted by Simone Erskine on Dec 13, 2018 2:29:03 PM

Lean manufacturing techniques are proven to eliminate wastes in manufacturing processes, leading to sustained improved efficiencies and systems. However, it is important for organizations to understand that lean manufacturing is more than just a set of tools, but it is also an attitude that begins with the culture. It is a continuous improvement process that requires discipline from everyone in the organization - a lean company culture. For that to occur, the principles & benefits of lean manufacturing must be understood by those involved in the manufacturing process.

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Common Pitfalls in Problem Solving

Posted by Shankar Anant on Nov 26, 2018 9:17:00 AM

Written by Shankar Anant, IMEC Technical Specialist.

In most businesses, the one common but fundamental skill that is much needed, yet mostly lacking, is the skill of Problem Solving. Where this becomes rather apparent is within those companies pursuing a continuous improvement journey. It isn’t a stretch to say that all continuous improvement tools/practices are built around some form of problem solving. Ironically, many of these companies have devoted time and resources to the task of training their associates but pervasive success is elusive.

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Continuous Improvement Comes to Quincy, IL

Posted by Simone Erskine on Sep 12, 2018 9:48:00 AM

 

There is always room to improve any process or operation. By equipping team members to apply lean manufacturing principles and techniques, companies gain a competitive edge internally and externally. Continuous improvement is a method designed to implement incremental changes that will improve efficiency, increase profits and eliminate waste.

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Small Changes, Huge Results

Posted by Simone Erskine on Jul 17, 2018 3:22:46 PM

 

There is always room to improve any process or operation. By equipping team members to apply lean manufacturing principles and techniques, companies gain a competitive edge internally and externally. Continuous improvement is a method designed to implement incremental changes that will improve efficiency, increase profits and eliminate waste.

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Quality Management Expert joins IMEC Team of Technical Specialists

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on May 2, 2018 10:56:21 AM

David McFarland is the newest addition to the IMEC team, bringing a strong background in quality management and data analysis to Illinois organizations. As a Technical Specialist with more than 25 years of experience working in academic and industrial settings, David has a passion for assisting companies with their culture of continual learning and improvement in pursuit of organizational excellence. 

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Spotlight on Success: Focusing on flow and maximizing space to increase employee and customer satisfaction

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Apr 30, 2018 8:13:00 AM

Doran Scales Inc.  |  20 employees  |  www.doranscales.com

Doran Scales is a digital scale manufacturer located in St. Charles, Illinois.

SITUATION

As competition began to grow and internal processes became more cluttered, Doran Scales faced the realization that they could no longer operate as an “80’s” manufacturing company – living off of high profits, consistent customers, and minimal demand for quality products. Mark Podl, CEO, knew the operation needed significant improvement and by starting with the shop floor operations he could begin the transformation to an up-to-date, lean and quality-minded, 21st century organization.

SOLUTION

Mark first engaged IMEC in setting the framework for how they would approach and prioritize the many improvements through education on the fundamentals of lean manufacturing. By then identifying the need for a shop floor “clean-up,” the Doran Scales team alongside IMEC laid out a plan for an improvement to the physical plant layout through several Kaizen events. By streamlining manufacturing processes and organizing tools and people in a more efficient flow, the team was able to kick start the journey to lean – each individual owning their incremental improvements and committing to the new way of working. “Pushing past the initial stigma of needing to be ‘fixed’ was difficult for some,” said Podl, “but having the guidance of individuals [IMEC] with experience has been extremely helpful. They provided us with the support we needed to get from point A to point B.”

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The most powerful but least-used tool to inspire efficiency

Posted by Rick Winkler on Apr 25, 2018 4:12:18 PM

Written by Rick Winkler, IMEC Technical Specialist 

Throughout my 20+year journey with continuous improvement, I’ve helped individuals experience a wide array of necessary “tools” for executing lean continuous improvement (CI). But none are perhaps more integral for success than standard work.

Standard work is likely the most powerful—but least used—lean tool available for individuals and organizations hoping to make change and inspire efficiency improvements. By documenting the current best practice, standard work creates the baseline for kaizen or continuous improvement events. It is important to understand that the baseline standard created initially is expected to be improved upon (hence continuous improvement); the new standard becomes the baseline for further improvements, and on and on.

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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.

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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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