Sixty-First Meeting of the Advanced Manufacturing Forum

The Journey to Lean: Plant Operations and Employee Involvement
April 12-13, 2007

Session Highlights

Batesville Casket Company
Batesville, Indiana
Doug Kunkel
Vice President of Operations

Doug Kunkel offered insights into Batesville's supply chain, manufacturing and distribution practices, and its just-in-time demand pull system. Continuous improvement is a way of life at Batesville and the key is the use of the Hillenbrand Business System, modeled around the Toyota Production System and related principles. Management strategies and tools around this system will be discussed for a product that requires uncompromising attention to detail, flawless quality and reliable delivery. Batesville is a subsidiary of Hillenbrand Industries, Inc.

Batesville Summary (pdf 27kB)

Penn State Smeal College of Business
Dan Guide
Associate Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management

Dan Guide provided an overview of his research on closed loop supply chains and the business processes for creating successful value streams from product returns, reuse and remanufacutring. Done correctly, supply chains can be designed with optimal ways of recovering value at different points in a product's life cycle. Guide discussed how to figure out what makes sense and what makes money for your business.

Closed Loop Supply Chain Summary
(pdf  26kB)

Rieter Automotive North America, Carpet
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
Mel Stojakovich
Continuous Improvement Manager

Mel Stojakovich focused on an element of the Lean toolbox that sets Rieter Automotive apart from other manufacturing plants: its successful employee involvement and its culture change. Cross-functional teams participate at every level, from the suggestion box to root-cause analysis, and the success of Rieter's Lean implementations.

Reiter Automotive Summary (pdf 35kB)

Schneider Electric
Peru, Indiana
Robin Singleton, Plant Manager
Kristen Workman, Manufacturing Engineering Manager

Robin Singleton and Kristen Workman shared Schneider Electric's lean philosophy, focusing on the plant's execution of 5S and how improvements have strengthened its union/management relationship. Schneider has embraced Lean elements of visualization, standardization, and order, and quite successfully, as they were a 2006 IndustryWeek Best Plants award winner.

Schneider Electric Summary (pdf  28kB)

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