Eberl Iron Works, Inc. recently launched a Lean manufacturing initiative. We partnered with The Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE), a program of the University of Buffalo’s Engineering department, for training and implementation services.
Funding for Lean training was secured by a competitive application to the NYS Department of Labor’s 37L Training Grant Program. The grant runs from July 1, 2006 through July 1, 2007.
What is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean is aimed at the elimination of waste in every area of production including customer relations, product design, supplier networks and factory management.
Its goal is to incorporate less human effort, less inventory, less time to develop products, and less space to become highly responsive to customer demand while producing top quality products in the most efficient and economical manner possible.
Our reason for embarking on Lean was two-fold:
- To better manage recent growth
- To address space constraints
We had heard great things about Lean, and we wanted to empower our workforce. Armed with this desire, we approached TCIE based on referrals from previous clients. Several past clients of TCIE (Child Care Resource Network and Lancaster Steel) had achieved significant Lean success and gave strong testimonials.
We have worked closely with TCIE trainers and Lean engineers Don Bowes and Al Hammonds. The training program, which is still in progress, began with an Introduction to Lean Concepts, and continued with 5S training, Value Stream Mapping, Pull/Kanban, a week-long hands-on Kaizen event, and will finish with a Lean Deployment and Key Metrics course. We are investing more than nine months in the program, which will involve 100% of the workforce.
Lean has demonstrated that the company has internal problem-solving capability if we take the time to identify problems through better communication and better planning. All participants, particularly veteran employees, have been very excited and hopeful that Lean will make for an enriched and more productive workplace.