Below are Lean Six Sigma success stories in the Manufacturing industry organized alphabetically. For success stories in other industries, please visit our Lean Six Sigma Success Stories page.
In a recent investors and analysts meeting hosted by 3m, a new five year plan for the company was created. The five-year plan lists financial objectives, customer objectives and how the company can position itself for the rest of 2016 into 2017. 3M will use Lean Six Sigma to streamline their supply chain and customer service.
3M and Rush Enterprises are getting ready to purse new design and manufacturing for compressed natural gas (CNG) systems to North America. The tanks to be supplied by 3M will be 30% lighter with 10% more storage than alternate types available. By pairing leading materials, technology, and expertise in Lean Six Sigma, the overall quality and reliability will be brought to a whole new level for customers.
Despite a weakened global economy in Europe and China, Trefis.com expects 3M will be able to avoid a sharp decline in operating margins (which are currently at a remarkable 20%) thanks to its use of Lean Six Sigma to maintain productivity.
Indiana’s Department of Labor has awarded 3M’s Hartford City location a “Star” site certification in its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) as of May 2013. This is thanks to an illness and occupational injury rate 40% below the national average over 3 years, thanks to Lean Six Sigma, Kaizen, process hazard analysis, and other safety programs. Less than 60 Indiana workplaces receive VPP status.
This article describes a situation faced by a real company–we’ll call it Acme Industries Inc.–in which it was compelled to adapt its Six Sigma manufacturing expertise to improve its pricing processes. The initial goal of generating $500,000 in incremental revenues during the first year was handily exceeded in only three months. More important, a subsequent across-the-board list-price increase was fully reflected in the top line for this product. By contrast, other product lines realized less than half the increase. That list-price increase, together with the tighter controls the Six Sigma team developed and implemented, resulted in $5.8 million in incremental sales in just the first six months following the project’s implementation, all going straight to the bottom line.
Leadership at the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) are putting more focus into Lean Six Sigma application after approximately two years of transitioning to six Complex operation contracts and standing up the Combined Test Force. This continuous process improvement will help them to be more effective and efficient in using the resources given in order to conduct tests for their customers. Reducing waste leads to more productive time, which leads to a more efficient workforce, leading to better ROI, thus leading to AEDC’s ability to increase air on time and achieving the 2024 vision.
Aviation and Missile Research Development & Engineering Center
By improving business processes, the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) has experienced cost saving and the elimination of waste throughout processes. To meet goals and save cost, the Center used Lean Six Sigma and Value Engineering tools. AMRDEC employees contributed a variety of cost efficient benefits including reliability improvements, technology insertion, reduced administrative burden and time deliveries.
Axalta Coating Systems
Axalta Coating Systems is a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings. Last month, Axalta took home a quality award from Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI) for “best practices from case studies which included reduction in cycle time using Six Sigma methodology and 5S approach.”
Barcoding, Inc. has launched Supply Chain Architecture, “a dedicated practice for the identification, formulation, and management of perfect order fulfillment processes.” To ensure that all people and processes are aligned, Barcoding uses Lean methodologies. Barcoding positions themselves to guide clients and their teams towards long-term success.
Sidel is a manufacturing company providing packaging equipment for liquids. The company uses Lean Six Sigma at all of its production sites which benefits beverage producers worldwide. Lead times and wastes are reduced while overall quality is improved. It’s a mindset for Sidel!
Inside of a morning workshop at a Bosch Rexroth hydraulic plant in Charlotte, N.C., leaders prepare their pitch to senior plant leaders and the local Lean project coordinator. In an effort to foster collaboration, the engineering firm takes a Shark Tank approach, where panelists ask questions and consider their options before deliberating and choosing what they’ll go forward with and which ones are “out.” Like an entrepreneur pitching to an investor, unit managers must allocate resources correctly by proving the worth of the endeavor. They’re already seeing a big improvement, as they have been able to reach the customer demand of shipping in a one-day turnaround period. As processes refine, engagement rises and Bosch builds on it’s journey for continuous improvement.
At Celestica Inc, an electronics manufacturing services company headquartered in Toronto, Canada, top-down safety continues to stay at the forefront of focus for it’s 1,800 employees. “Our biggest challenge is continuous improvement. We are always looking for better ways of working and keeping our people in safe hands,” exclaims HR Manager, Gian Detta Colli. Since having developed the program, “Daily Safety Kaizen Continuous Improvement Program,” the company’s health and safety program has been able to increase employee engagement around the submittal for process improvement ideas by 30% from 2015 to 2016. Using DMAIC and Visual Management, processes have been improved, posters have been created and overall employee buy-in has enabled Celestica to sustain the program’s effectiveness over the long term.
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has named Cummins, Inc. the 2014 Employer of Choice for the Midwest Region. This award honors departments that demonstrate diversity and commitment to creating an inclusive workplace. Diversity is one of Cummins’ core values and their general council department has made tremendous strides in building diversity through Six Sigma.
Cummins, a fortune 500 corporation that designs and manufactures power generation equipment and systems has been named the 2014 Corporate Recycler of the Year. Cummins has a goal of 95% recycling of its waste by 2020 across their 22 facilities and staff of 46,000. By using Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing techniques, Cummins’ sites increased their recycling rate to 97.87% this year!
Demand Driven Manufacturing
Demand Driven Manufacturing is the combination of Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints (TOC). Synchrono is a leading manufacturing software company that has helped other manufacturers improve flow and dri on-time production with Demand Driven Manufacturing.
Fortress Paper Ltd. reported 2016 second quarter earnings of $6.3 million! This is an increase of $5.2 million and $2.2 million over the previous quarter and prior year comparative periods. Even though exchange rates and foreign transactions proved challenging, the teams at Fortress continued improvements at their mills with Lean Six Sigma project teams. Lean Six Sigma has helped with the blockage issue experienced during the first quarter of 2016 and will now focus on mill efficiency improvement for the winter months
General Cable’s successes are requiring more employees. As a “global leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of aluminum, copper and fiber-optic wire and cable products for energy, construction, industrial, specialty and communications markets,” the organization is making their community proud. Solid operation improvements and growth have been supported by Lean Six Sigma.
Adopting lean and six sigma over a decade ago has allowed General Cable to remain competitive in an extremely price-sensitive and cyclical industry. The company has 6 master black belts, 64 black belts, 211 green belts, 290 lean technicians that enable them to have a consistency of response — in other words, everyone has both the tools and knowledge to handle situations. As a result of this continuous improvement mindset, General Cable is expected to drive down costs by several percentage points annually.
GKN Sinter Metals
In 2008, the profit return on sales was below zero for GKN Sinter Metal’s Germantown. The negative numbers started a fire in their shoes and although the fire was slow to start, the momentum began picking up in 2011 and 2012. With the momentum came the lean and kata concept. This was the missing piece at the Germantown facility.
Gooch & Housego
Gooch & Housego, the fiber optic manufacturing site in Boston, has been granted $98,300 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to go towards the full expansion of the site’s Lean manufacturing program. The program sets out to get employees engaged at all times with four specific goals in mind.
IR took on the task of improving the order entry process, utilizing the DMAIC approach and Six Sigma tools. As a result of these efforts, defects were reduced dramatically. The process itself is approaching a 70-percent reduction in defects, moving from 0.5 sigma to 3.53 sigma. Customer satisfaction has also improved tremendously.
Jabil Shanghai applied Lean Six Sigma principles to optimize manufacturing processes in their Shanghai facility. Their application of Lean Six Sigma turned heads and won both internal and external awards. The 16 month program towards process improvement allowed the team to learn and apply DMAIC, develop best practices, and increase team communication.
L.B. Foster Threaded Products
While looking to change the market focus for its products, L.B Foster Threaded Products determined that a new manufacturing plant was needed. This new and improved lean-influenced facility allowed the company to eliminate waste while improving productivity and creating a safer work environment. This led to a 76% reduction in scrap and rework costs and an increase to 99% for on-time delivery. As a result, the company has seen a dramatic improvement in overall productivity and efficiency.
Poor working conditions are inevitable across the globe. While we don’t wish it upon any community or individuals, it happens with traditional mass manufacturing. On the other hand, Lean manufacturing can have a positive impact. Research has shown that Lean manufacturing has improved compliance with labor standards in 11 developing countries. These findings suggest bigger pictures!
Leonard Building and Truck Accessories
Leonard Building and Truck Accessories has announced Joe Robbins as its new operations manager. Robbins is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and brings over 30 years of Lean manufacturing and production experience to the new job. With Robbins on board, the company will continue to push efforts to expand the business and stay in a leading position.
Curtis M. Stevens, CEO of Louisiana-Pacific Corp, mentions how Lean Six Sigma assists his company in being more efficient and effective at its manufacturing facilities, which produce building materials, industrial wood products and pulp.
Solar ribbon manufacturer Luvata’s Pori, Finland facility has been certified as Lean after a successful seven years of implementing process improvement principles. Luvata’s clients include Siemens, CERN, and Toyota.
Ellis Medicine of Schenectady, New York, and MC Assembly in Melbourne, Florida, are in different stages of their kaizen journey, but both have a resounding similar quality: a culture of creativity, open communication, and a drive for continuous improvement. In 2016, Ellis Medicine projected to save $1.8M via process improvement efforts through “improving a quality of care and financial strength by identifying more efficient process and cost savings,” which proved tremendously successful. Their triumph included a solution to IV pump shortages that saved $500,000 and identifying lab tests that could be done in-house which saved $1M. MC Assembly also continued their mission to process improvement, having staff in all three of their training facilities undergo Lean training to help inspire rapid change within the organization.
Magline is a leading manufacturer of route distribution solutions, lightweight aluminum hand trucks. Magline recently provided an article to their Delivering Excellence Newsletter summarizing the importance of having a competitive edge and “touching the materials handling aspect of business.” To maintain a competitive edge and keep satisfied customers, Magline uses Lean Six Sigma.
Masonite Ireland is a leading manufacturer of interior doors. At Masonite, the culture is a Lean Six Sigma one! Energy managers coordinate all aspects of projects and systems to make sure gains are sustained over a long period of time. Managers use their Green and Black Belt skills as a part of their daily jobs.
While specializing in hot forging, machining, and light assembly of components primarily for transportation industries, Metform is always looking for ways to improve it’s processes. Since the arrival of Metform President, Dan Cavanagh, in 2013, the company has taken on an amazing lean transformation which has resulted in the entire 400-person workforce completing lean basic training. With their staff now knowledgable in lean principles, Metform has increased 21.8% in productivity as a well as achieved 99% on-time delivery.
The National Product Manager from Milling Products will be presenting a seminar in September demonstrating how companies can impact productivity and, ultimately, cost by creating a process to manage cutting tools “beyond the machine tool.” Thomas Raun will push you to think beyond the parameters to think about cost cutting tools in your organization. 0091d4
Molded Devices, Inc.
Molded Devices Inc. (MDI), headquartered in Riverside, CA, has invested in upgrading the company’s Tempe, AZ injection molding operations. All of the inspection equipment is currently connected to statistical process control software as a part of a continuous improvement program. Current upgrades to machinery are on the path to Six Sigma.
Despite the weakening Aluminum prices across the globe, Real Alloy’s performance increases. Real Alloy serves their customers through closed loop recycling operations and Lean Six Sigma. The implementation of Lean Six Sigma helps to expand margins and continue to improve performance.
Have you leaned your cleaning? When it comes to manufacturing plants and machine reliability, cleanliness and efficiency start with getting lean. Utilizing lean principles, particularly 5S, to the holistic cleaning of a facility not only results in an organized work environment, it also increases the productivity of the cleaning teams, enhances the company image, improves morale and engagement, makes every dollar count, and protects valuable assets.
What could be better than improving product quality, decreasing production costs and eliminating waste? Try doing all three of those things while simultaneously bringing jobs back to the United States. Santana Textiles, located primarily in Brazil and Argentina, will be working with South Texas College to improve business practices at its 33-acre Edinburg, Texas facility. This Fall, 330 employees will be taught in the finer points of Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, and supply chain management in an effort to reverse the trend of textile jobs being transferred overseas.
Robot vision-guided truck builder Seegrid has helped manufacturers stay lean by automating materials handling using Lean manufacturing principles. At American Packaging Corporation, when material handling labor hours were reduced by 19%, this enabled the company to expand its manufacturing while not only keeping its workforce but requiring the hiring of more workers.
New Zealand business Spanbild, which designs and builds residential and commercial buildings, has seen impressive improvements in since the beginning of the year by employing lean manufacturing principles. Spanbild has decreased waste by 44%, improved efficiency by 17.8%, and increased the timber team’s productivity by 20%.
The Jubach Company
Tim Jubach and his family are developers of log homes and land in Hocking Hills since 2002. They custom design through construction and after sale support. In 2003, Tim’s son joined the team and brought Six Sigma innovation to the company. His business experience not only complemented his father’s experience but also brought improvements to reduce waste. The company only has 5 employees and reported $2 million in revenue last year!
The National Productivity Centre of Nigeria
The National Productivity Centre of Nigeria has two goals: boosting economic development and improving the standard of living. By partnering with the Japanese Government, a journey begins in applying Kaizen, hinted by at the 2nd Productivity Promotion Seminar on Application of Japanese KAIZEN Concept for Productivity Improvement in Nigeria, held in Lagos.
“The ultimate goal of productivity improvement as a driving force of economic development is to enhance the quality of life through creativity, innovation, wealth creation, employment generation and poverty reduction,” Dr. Kashi Akor, Director of the National Productivity Centre shares.
The two companies of focus, Bertola Machine tools and Mouka Ltd, manufacturing companies whose goals are to begin the process of eliminating unnecessary actions and maximizing the use of existing human and non-human resources.
Yasuhiro Hashimoto, Head of Economic and Commercial Section at the Embassy of Japan shares that, “There is no coutry or organization where Kaizen has failed to improve quality and productivity when properly applied.” He states that Kaizen would serve as an effective and efficient vehicle that would enhance Nigeria’s economic performance. The quest of process improvement begins for Nigeria with Japan as it’s partner to guide the way.
Think Lightweight, a lightweight panels manufacturer, has six unique lightweight panel technology options. The company has over $3 million invested in lightweight panel processing equipment and is considered a “Smart Factory” because of their use of Lean Six Sigma, robotics and advanced computer technology.
Topper Industrial has been a leader in the material handling equipment industry over 20 years. For many of those years, Topper thought they were Lean, but just when they thought all was in line and well, their real Lean journey began. Since then, the entire leadership team has gone through a week of basic Lean training. Not to mention what once took 20 operators now takes 13…
Aisle space can be a challenge for forklifts and colleagues to work together in factory spaces. To help minimize safety issues and increase speedy factory production, Topper Industrial “holds patents of custom-design carts that can be pulled in a train, turn in tight spaces, and linked with auxiliary carriers handling specialized fork truck free operations.” This is in an added effort to achieve a Lean Six Sigma Value proposition.
Universal Machining Industries Inc.
Aerospace manufacturers from around the world are said to be highly sensitive to Six Sigma. Today’s requirements for aerospace manufacturing demand the highest levels of efficiency and attention to detail. In order to be successful, there is an extreme commitment to efficiency processes. Universal Machining Industries Inc (UMII) was established in 1997 and their dedication shines with 98.5 percent on-time delivery and 99.8 percent quality acceptance rates.
At UTC Aerostructures, a manufacturer of nacelle components for jet engines, everyone has a one-track mind towards continuous improvement. Every employee uses very detailed standard work to eliminate waste and speed up cycle time. Takt time clocks are utilized throughout the facility, breaking down an 8-hour workday (or 25,200 seconds) into four periods of 6,300 seconds each, that countdown to ensure the plant meets its production goals for the day. UTC Aerostructures has found that reducing waste, in the form of time, significantly improves efficiency and allows the plant to continuously improve.
Vermeer Corp. Utilizes Lean to Increase Efficiency, Develop Best Practices and Reduce Health Care Costs
Vermeer Corp. CEO Mary Andringa, who is also chair of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), is using Lean to lower healthcare costs for her manufacturing company. She does this through regular kaizen events to increase efficiency and develop best practices.
Data and analytics eliminate the need for guesswork when it comes to Lean strategizing. Data shows real results and information. When rolling out a successful Lean manufacturing strategy, the author of this article states that “manufacturing managers can make informed decisions” about which areas of manufacturing need immediate attention due to the accurate, accumulated data and information. It has been said that Lean is the single most important concept in the manufacturing industry.
Wabash National Corp.
“Wabash National Corp. recently reached an agreement with EconCore N.V., for the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell certain EconCore honeycomb sandwich material configurations in the containment and transportation industries in the United States, Canada and Mexico.” With this partnership, EconCare is excited since Wabash is an industry leader using Lean Six Sigma.