It is no secret that manufacturers play a critical role in the state’s economy. Manufacturing alone contributes the largest amount per industry to the state’s output with 12% Gross State product. It is the state’s powerhouse industry that is responsible for 93% of its exports, pays $52 billion in wages and benefits to 592,000 people – that’s about 9.2% of the state’s workforce.
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.
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.
Doran Scales Inc. | 20 employees | www.doranscales.com
Doran Scales is a digital scale manufacturer located in St. Charles, Illinois.
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.
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.”
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.
Advantage Components, Inc. | 60 employees | www.aciwires.com
ACi is a contract cable and wire harness manufacturer located in Joliet, Illinois.
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.
Becoming certified in Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) will significantly help your company in reducing costs and increasing market share.