By Kevin Meyer
Last week brought us two stories of two companies mentioning their respective lean manufacturing efforts. I thought I'd show you a couple quotes and see if you notice something.
First we have Chromalloy in Georgia.
Newnan's Chromalloy facility has announced an expansion that is expected to bring 125 new jobs over the next year. Chromalloy, located in the Shenandoah Industrial Park, repairs components of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines.
Chromalloy will add new capabilities to the existing facility, building new lean manufacturing lines to service additional turbine power systems.
The expansion is already under way, [Tim, General Manager] Ulles said. For the past several months, the company has done some recruiting and hiring, and will be ramping that up over the next few month. "The types of jobs that we will be hiring for will be welders, machinists, shipping and receiving people" as well as engineers and customer service employees, Ulles said.
"We have a very committed and educated workforce, and we just look forward to adding more of the same here in Newnan, to expand the lines of operation," Ulles said. "We find there is a rich talent base here for skilled workers," he said, and "we have robust training programs that allow us to develop people, as well."
Ok, and now we have Steelcase in Michigan… well sort of in Michigan.
The corporate restructurings of the past decade put Steelcase Inc. in a better position to drive future sales growth and profits, CEO Jim Hackett told shareholders today.
The latest restructuring move started in January, when Steelcase announced plans to shut down three factories, including its Kentwood East seating plant, and move the work to Mexico. The closing will eliminate 750 jobs, including 400 in Kentwood.
Getting fit required Steelcase to shed excess manufacturing capacity and implement lean manufacturing and new sales and distribution models, Hackett said. “In order to execute the growth strategies, we know we must be committed to fitness,” Hackett said. “Investment in one area often means curtailing or re-inventing our activities in another.”
For one company lean means growth. For another lean means reduction, elimination, and shedding (oh sorry… "re-inventing").
For one company lean means leveraging a rich talent base and even improving on it through further training and education. For another lean means moving a couple thousand miles away and starting over with brand new people.
Bill described this beautifully a few days ago in his post on how lean is not a cost reduction strategy. Lean is realizing that attached to the pair of hands meticulously and erroneously watched by traditional accountants is an experienced, creative brain filled with brilliant ideas for improvement. The oft-forgotten second pillar of lean, respect for people.
I wonder which company will be thriving in a decade… and which will still be "re-inventing" itself for the tenth or twentieth time, in search of the mysterious missing piece. When it is, or was, right in their factories.