Lean Six Sigma Success Stories in the Automotive Industry

Below are Lean Six Sigma success stories in the Automotive industry organized alphabetically. For success stories in other industries, please visit our Lean Six Sigma Success Stories page.

Auto Body Shops

Going Lean in a Small Shop

Operating Lean can help a car shop of any size improve. Not only do low cycle times and high touch times offer a peace of mind, they also make small shop owners and managers feel less chained to the shop. Going Lean means getting educated and getting employees on board. See how four body shops from around the country improve cycle times and efficiency with Lean in this article.


Upstate Students Visit BMW for Lesson on Science, Technology

Thirty high school students from South Carolina worked with University of South Carolina to study statistics and business. Through University of South Carolina Upstate Academic Outreach Camp, the students toured USC Upstate’s Healthcare Simulation Center and learned about manufacturing concepts. Concepts included Lean and Six Sigma which are concepts used by BMW. BMW co-sponsors University of South Carolina Upstate’s Academic Outreach Camp.


Bosch & BMGI Partner to Transform India’s Capabilities With Lean

Aravind Miya, Head of Lean at Bosch India is excited to implement Bosch’s lean production system within Indian corporates through partnership with BMGI, a global management consulting firm. Having recently conducted a program on ‘Lean Transformation’, it had been noted that it was well received with participants from organizations such as Titan, Crown Paints-Kenya, Larson and Touboro. Participants were given a simulation where they had the opportunity to use real machines and create new plant layouts using Lean principles. A participant, KY Balaji, shares, “The program provided excellent in-depth learning of new methods, with hands-on practice and shop visits. I look forward to applying this knowledge at my workplace.” A great start to a journey of implementing lean, and it’s just the beginning!


Ergonomics and Manufacturing Excellence

How do you link ergonomics to Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma metrics? The answer typically lies in productivity and quality. In some cases, savings associated with workers’ compensation are significant enough to warrant the involvement of these initiatives, but there is no sustainable opportunity for improvement. Once workers’ compensation costs are minimized, additional cost savings in this area disappear. In contrast, productivity gains are durable; ergonomics improvements at the workstation level can translate into time savings at the work cell level ranging from 25 percent to 40 percent.

Driver’s Village

Success Using Lean Principles

The Collision Center at Driver’s Village in Cicero, New York once lived in a dead strip mall. That is, until Roger Burdick capitalized on the expansive 92-acre property. Upon Roger’s investment, the Collision Center took a turn for the better! The collision shop was always destined to be Lean and with the help of Green Belt training programs and a long time, loyal employee, monthly sales are up from about $275,000 to $325,000!

Elite Parking Services

Grey Receives Business Ambassador Award

Dane Grey is the president of Jacksonville based Elite Parking Services of America and was presented the Governor’s Business Ambassador Award last week. Not only is Dane Grey a notable man, but his company, Elite Parking is a technology driven parking management firm that focuses on Public Private Partnerships across the United States. The parking operations are deployed through a newly developed cloud based parking concept that “incorporates Lean concepts, value stream mapping, industry best practices, and a Six Sigma focus by providing state of the art technology designed to lower client cost, increase efficiency, and increase employee productivity.”

Ford Motor Company

Consumer-Driven Six Sigma Saves Ford $300 million

To achieve Nasser’s vision of becoming a consumer products company and gain the coveted increase in customer satisfaction, Ford turned to Six Sigma. In 2000, Consumer Driven 6-Sigma contributed $52 million to the bottom line. Ford estimates a $300 million contribution from closed projects and a two-point increase in customer satisfaction in 2001. Vu estimates that 1,000 Six Sigma projects have been completed and that about 3,000 other projects are in various stages of completion.

General Motors (GM)

GM’s New Problem-Solving Focus Reaps Savings

This year, GM identified a shortage of premium 22-inch chrome wheels for its popular and profitable Cadillac Escalade SUV. The issue at hand was that the supplier was unable to make enough wheels to satisfy GM’s demand. This past year, GM has also focused on process improvement and ways to eliminate waste. With consistent process improvement practice and knowledge in saving money and boosting revenue, GM knew just what to do when their supplier couldn’t satisfy.

Greenway Automotive

Army Veteran’s Discipline Cuts Used-Car Recon Time In Half

Greenway Automotive dealerships in Orlando, Florida is lucky to have Anthony Martinez, Army Veteran, as a lead reconditioning director. Anthony has been with Greenway Automotive for two years. Since joining the organization, he has eliminated simple time wasting steps all while keeping quality in check. Martinez has certifications in Lean and Six Sigma.

Loren’s Body Shop

A Study in Lean Problem Solving

At Loren’s Body Shop in Bluffton, Indiana, Lean, Six Sigma, and 5S are all about true problem solving and streamlining. After owner, Greg Lobsiger, finally realized there were bottlenecks holding back his Shop, he made a mentality change and embarked on a lean journey.  Years later and miles down the Midwestern highway, Loren’s Body Shop sees $1.3 million in annual revenue with just 4 hours of touch time per day!


Why This Company Will Continue to Dominate the Heavy-Duty Truck Market

Paccar grew its U.S. market share from 23% in 2003 to 27% in 2013, while its share of the European market expanded from 12% to 16% during the same period. Paccar is known for their focus on operational efficiency and they pioneered the adoption of Six Sigma in 1997. In addition to their Six Sigma adoption they also have a lean cost structure which has led Paccar to outperform Navistar, a peer and competitor.

Rockwell Collins

Continuously Improving Sustainability – Lean & Six Sigma Team Up for Environmental Sustainability

In a recent onsite project, Rockwell Collins, an aerospace company in Iowa, used their existing tools and leveraged their employees expertise to reduce their overall carbon footprint. In a one year project using DMAIC, Rockwell Collins saved more than $300,000 in electricity savings. They are now on track to reduce their carbon footprint by 15% annually, if not 2-3% more each year.

Saab Aerostructures

Getting Lean Driving Customer Satisfaction and Improved Competitiveness

Saab Aerostructures work with Lean to improve health and safety for employees, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce cost by elimination of waste and disturbances. Not only has Lean has sparked the development of a new design and production system, but it has sparked an annual scholarship to Saab employees who are making a major contribution to improved efficiency within the company’s operations.


Post-Recession, Manufacturers Utilize Robotics to Stay Lean

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.

Southland CNC

Southland CNC Uses AME Fixture to Reduce Cycle Times by 50%

Southland CNC, a full-service automotive machine shop, depends on Six Sigma conformity for its major automotive customers. This was achieved with an AME-designed vertical machining centers that use hydraulic tombstone fixturing for its high volume orders. The fixture reduced load/unload time, scrap rates, and cut cycle time by over 50% without additional machines. Designed for error-free handling, the AME fixture has run 20 hours per day, 5 days a week for over 7 years without a single problem. They were therefore able to cut turnaround times and go from 50 parts per day to over 110 with no loss in accuracy or finish quality.


Honsha’s Executive Development Mission Brings Leaders to the Next Level of Lean Thinking

This week marks the 7th edition of the Executive Development Mission by Honsha. Direct from beautiful Japan, the Executive Development Mission aims to bring leaders to the next level of Lean thinking by showing the role of culture awareness. Guests will understand the pure principles of Kaizen directly from Gemba observations at Toyota and other Japanese organizations. Along with seminars and on-site Kaizen training, attendees are guided on a factory tour at the world-leading facility for structure and management of the Toyota Production System. People can follow the daily blog here.

In Lieu of Money, Toyota Donates Efficiency to New York Charity

Instead of donating money, Toyota has donated is engineers—and its “kaizen” philosophy of continuous improvement—to New York City anti-hunger charity Food Bank. Results include reducing wait time at a Harlem soup kitchen from 90 to 18 minutes, decreasing bag filling time at a Staten Island pantry from 11 to 6 minutes, and cutting box-packing time for Hurricane Sandy victims from 3 minutes to 11 seconds.

The Driving Forces in Toyota’s Visual Management

Toyota’s approach to visual management, or Floor Management Display Systems (FMDS), includes the six elements of creating FMDS. Starting with Visual Standards, data and abnormalities should jump out and drive effective meetings to ensure pre-conditions for production. System Priorities drive daily plans and fulfill ideal plans. Section Management drives effective group activity. Group Management recognizes problems and drives improvement at all levels (by coaching/developing talent on the teams). Kaizen/A3 applies coaching. Change Point Management applies job rotation, basic rules and history review.

Visual Guided Vehicles

Visual Guided Vehicles Optimize Workflow Processes

Labor costs account for over 70% of lift truck ownership expenses. So with the help Lean Six Sigma methodologies, Seegrid, a pioneer in three-dimensional vision navigation, demonstrated their vision guided vehicles (VGVs) to help cut costs and reduce wasted travel time for manufacturing and distribution facilities.

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