Industrial Engineering

Lean Helps Another

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Picture source: http://www.inc.com/
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 47, NUMBER 3

ATW Companies notes improvement across all its operations
Count ATW Companies, which provides engineered metal manufacturing solutions, as another believer in how lean can transform an organization.

The company runs manufacturing facilities in California, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Officials reported that lean has increased productivity across its subsidiaries with training on root cause analysis, problem-solving and making data-driven decisions based on metrics such as first-pass yield and on-time delivery.

One subsidiary cut production time in half for a part central to its business model. Another moved a step common to many parts off a machine known to be a bottlenect. And visual management boards at that same location revealed issues with pieces of machinery that, when fixed, improved uptime by 15 percent.

One recent improvement developed an in-process inspection for a medical device articulated locking bar, reducing lead-times by half and work-in-progress inventory by 35 percent. The team used value stream mapping to identify waste and eliminate the wait times between steps while performing quality inspections during processing.