Fifty-Ninth Meeting of the Advanced Manufacturing Forum

Lean Production and Lean Office: Best Practices for Both
March 30-31, 2006

Session Highlights

Michael Darr
Production Planning and Delivery Manager
Bridgestone Firestone
Graniteville, South Carolina

Building Tires in a Whole New Way...

In 1997 Bridgestone/Firestone announced plans to build a new tire manufacturing plant in Aiken County, South Carolina that would be specifically designed for lean manufacturing. Through highly automated, first-of-its-kind machinery, innovative systems, and a highly trained and team-oriented workforce, its goal was to be the number one tire plant in the world. Eight years into that journey, accolades such as the Shingo Prize and Industry Week's Best Plants award have confirmed that the plant is well on its way to achieving that goal. Michael Darr discussed the keys to the plant's success as well as the lessons learned along the way.

Bridgestone Firestone (32KB pdf)

Paul Gomez
Production and Continuous Improvement Manager
Dana Corporation
Owensboro, Kentucky

Best Practices = Best Plant

The 319-person team at Dana Owensboro relies on techniques from the Toyota Production System (TPS) as the basis of their workplace culture. At a time when domestic automakers are laying off workers and closing plants, Dana continues to garner business from Toyota. They accomplish this through best practices such as error-proofing, adding smart automation, having a flexible labor pool, and gathering employee feedback (with a monthly reward for the best tip). Each supplier is assigned a color for visual aid in material handing; the production line's sequencing system is based on Internet communication with Toyota; these and other practices earned Dana Owensboro an Industry Week Best Plants honor in 2003, and Toyota Delivery Awards in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Paul Gomez shared Dana's successes and failures over the plant's eight-year history.

Dana Corporation (31KB pdf)

Ron Orcutt
President, Electrical Construction Materials
EGS Electrical Group
Rosemont, Illinois

The Lean Office Transformation

Lean - it's not just for the production floor. Working the paper through the office is as strategic to business today as production. Sales-order cycle times, engineering change-order cycle times, response times to customers' quote requests, product specification documents--these are just a few areas where inefficiencies and costly waste exist. Ron Orcutt keyed on the Best Practices for success in the Lean office transformation. He addressed the most important part of this transformation: the combination of technique and culture. "You can have recipes and checklists, but you must also have the right people. People and company culture are more important than the Lean solution," says Orcutt.

EGS Electrical Group (29KB pdf)

Winning Business on a .--.. . .- -. Foundation*

Ken Smith
Manufacturing Manager
General Cable
Altoona, Pennsylvania

In 1844, General Cable supplied the wire used by Samuel Morse for the historic communication link-up between Washington and Baltimore. Today, this Industry Week Best Plants supplier of ignition wire sets for the automotive aftermarket credits Lean principles, Six Sigma metrics, and an operator-led work environment for the elimination of waste, improvements in order times, and a winning business formula. Assembly cells transition from batch production to pure flow, consolidated suppliers replenish inventory daily, and workers request kaizens—making General Cable a quick responder to their downstream customers. And the more business their customers win, the more business for General Cable. Ken Smith presented, and Michael Sgro (Materials Manager), Heather Stolper (Plant Manager) and Carol Weyandt (Green Belt) offered their comments and insights during the Q&A and the breakout sessions.

General Cable (34KB pdf)

* .--.. . .- -. is Morse Code for "Lean"

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