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Posted: 05.13.20

Wrentham Tool Group is Implementing a Lean Transformation Initiative

 

As a company that serves manufacturers, we strive to create continuous improvement in our own manufacturing processes. This is why we are focusing our efforts on implementing the Lean transformation initiative with the help of Mass MEP consulting.

While we had focused on continuously improving our processes and reducing waste in the past, we expect this formal training to help us take a big step forward. Our goal is to leverage Lean manufacturing principles to further eliminate waste in our operations which will help us offer competitively-priced products while maintaining current profitability levels. We expect to increase productivity levels by 20-30%.

What is Lean Manufacturing and how does it benefit manufacturers?

According to Mass MEP, Traditional manufacturing philosophies stress high utilization of machinery and manpower with less attention spent focusing on cycle time reduction or manufacturing waste. Meanwhile, Lean manufacturing focuses on creating greater production efficiencies by implementing value-added activities to minimize waste.

Lean principles focus on eliminating waste due to:

  • Overproduction
  • Wait time
  • Transportation
  • Inefficient processes
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Defects
  • Production bottlenecks

How are we planning on implementing Lean Manufacturing at Wrentham Tool Group?

Before we started this initiative, only President Jim Russell, Quality Assurance Manager Steve Doldo, and a couple of members of our operations team were formally trained and experienced in implementing Lean. To improve upon that, we have been leveraging the outside services of a Mass MEP consultant both to train and support a 24-month Lean transformation program. In preparation for the project, 3 key operations employees were trained in Lean Manufacturing last Fall through the GBMP Lean Certification Training Program.

The training and consulting provided by this 24-month program are being used to address the following key areas:

  • "Introduction to Lean for Job Shops" will be utilized to educate the WTG organization on the basics of Lean, continuous improvement, and what the company is expecting to achieve by leveraging Lean to transform our operations.
  • Develop an improved team culture, centered around problem-solving, continuous improvement. This will include the development of our skills matrix and subsequent team development utilizing a Standard Work Kaizen and Job Instruction Training.
  • Utilize "Lean Value Stream Mapping" on material flow to define and arrange the factory floor along key value streams of our production process families of products. Utilize Lean tools like Value Stream Mapping, 5S, and Kaizen to accelerate flow and eliminate waste in the process.
  • Utilize "Lean Value Stream Mapping" on material flow to define and arrange the factory floor along key value streams of our production process families of products. Utilize Lean tools like Value Stream Mapping, 5S, and Kaizen to accelerate flow and eliminate waste in the process.
  • Utilize "Value Stream Mapping" and "Visual Scheduling Kaizen" to develop a new planning and scheduling processes to ensure WTG has the tools needed to manage and ensure we maintain needed service levels with the higher demand to support our growth.
  • Utilize "Setup Reduction" and "Total Productive Maintenance Kaizens" to help develop the team to leverage the concept of "Overall Equipment Effectiveness." This will optimize both capacity and throughput from our equipment and labor force.
  • Utilize training in "Lean Principles for the Office" to develop our office team in eliminating waste and streamlining our business processes to support our future expectations for the business.

How will this help us moving forward?

Our goal is to cross-train our workforce so that it is more flexible, but also so that it is more united and so each employee develops a continuous improvement mindset to identify and eliminate waste. As part of a team effort, we plan on driving innovation across the business to support our growth strategy in this highly competitive marketplace.

This project is funded in part by a Workforce Training Fund grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The grant program is administered by Commonwealth Corporation.

If you would like to learn more about Lean principles such as Kaizen, the 5S System, Kanban, Heijunka, or the Just in Time philosophy, we recommend this article from Reliable Plant. You can click here to read it.