A lot of companies are working on lean these days, and perhaps some of them are your competitors. Each day Google is nice enough to send me a list of company lean stories which I usually end up filing. But here are just a few quick summaries to kick off a new week.
Advanced Micro Devices is bucking the trend of going to larger and larger wafer sizes by focusing on shortening cycle times. Large wafers are in effect a form of batch processing, creating additional quality risk, equipment monuments, and inventory cost.
Doug Grose, senior vice president in charge of manufacturing and supply chain at AMD, made brief reference to the development center, saying it was part of AMD’s emphasis on reduced cycle times, improved tool predictability and “mini batch tools.” “The blind focus on raw capacity” is butting up against the need to make a wide variety of products, with much faster cycle times, Grose said. “We need to reduce waste and reduce the cycle time, and to do that, the industry needs to discover the issues that factor into our cycle times.
TB Wood’s in Pennsylvania is bucking the outsourcing and offshoring trend by focusing on the competitive advantage of speed. The transmission equipment manufacturer just celebrated its 150th anniversary, and apparently intends to prosper for the next century.
"What we have the ability to do is make things fast and big, something that offshore production can’t do," said Lew Crist, business unit manager, belted drives. About two years ago, the company introduced "lean manufacturing" methods, designed to improve efficiency and reduce waste. "Lean system is the road map to where we need to go," Crist said. "Something that used to take three to four days is now on a 35-minute cycle."
Gorbel Inc. near Rochester makes jib and workstation bridge cranes. Their concern is scalability to accomodate growth, and they’re using lean to help.
We’re focusing on scalability through internal leadership training, lean manufacturing and lean office, and primarily working to create brilliant, world-class business processes that we can grow from. [Brian Reh, President]
At Lasco Bathware in Washington state, lean manufacturing methods are being used to help improve environmental impact.
Work on what was called a lean manufacturing and environment project began in 2006 and has resulted in a 29,000-pound annual decrease in the amount of excess fiber resin spray generated at the plant. By creating cleaner, more-organized work areas and eliminating production bottlenecks, the lean manufacturing team has cut annual labor costs by about $31,000 and redirected about 1,950 hours of labor to other, value-added activities.
Skier’s Choice Inc., a manufacturer of ski boats in Tennessee, uses lean to respond to increased market demand without adding cost.
Skier’s Choice Inc., manufacturer of Supra and Moomba inboard towboats, increased production at its Maryville facility from 10 boats a day to 11 as a response to market demand. [President Rick] Tinker attributed the increased production to Skier’s Choice employees and their efforts to implement improved quality and lean manufacturing practices. The lean manufacturing process has been a primary focus at Skier’s Choice for much of the past year with a strong emphasis on the application of important lean principles in manufacturing, source quality and material delivery.
How are your lean efforts going?