South Bend Manufacturers Complete LEAN Training

South Bend Manufacturers Complete LEAN Training

Incumbent workers from multiple South Bend area manufacturing companies recently completed Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (MEP) Team Member Lean Certificate Training and Lean Practitioner Implementation Certificate programs. The cost of the training was covered by grant funds from the City of South Bend’s Mayor’s Pathways On Demand Workforce Development Program.

South Bend Career Pathways was created to assist workers eager to advance their employment prospects and income levels through career training programs.  The program was expanded in 2019 to include on-demand programs for South Bend employers to take groups of employees and advance them within their organizations.  The end results benefit the company, its employees, and the community.

“This is really about the prosperity in our community now and in the future,” said Mayor of South Bend, James Mueller.

This partnership with Purdue MEP and South Bend represented the program for the On Demand program and the result have been so dramatic and significant for both employers and employees that plans for 2020 are currently underway.

Team Members from: Abtrex Industries, Curtis Products, Elkhart Plastics, General Stamping & Metalworks, Hoosier Tank & Manufacturing, JMS Engineered Plastics, Lippert, Manufacturing Technology Inc., Masterbilt Inc., and SPI Industries received training in: Lean manufacturing, 5S system, problem solving and root cause analysis. Practitioner training included: value stream mapping, quick changeover, total productive maintenance, Kaizen facilitation, project management, and then they all participated in a three-day kaizen event. The Practitioner participants also took an exam, then completed a continuous improvement project and formally presented their projects on December 18th, 2019 to business owners, coworkers, City of South Bend dignitaries and guests.

Practitioner participants and their projects presented along with dollarized impact were:

  • Abtrex Industries – fabrication process improvements
  • Curtis Products – cell layout waste elimination
  • General Stamping & Metalworks – cell work flow efficiency
  • Hoosier Tank & Manufacturing – warehouse visual management and work flow and visual management constraint
  • JMS Engineered Plastics – maintenance inventory visual management system and changeover improvements
  • Lippert – cell work flow efficiency and cell layout and POUS
  • Manufacturing Technology Inc. – job pick list process and visual management and changeover with tool shadow boards
  • Masterbilt Inc. – work flow management

“The Lean Team Member and Implementer training has enabled our team to develop efficiencies in our processes and work habits which have resulted in noticeable bottom line cost savings.  But, perhaps more importantly, the 14 individuals that fully emerged themselves in this training have helped nurture a new organizational mindset that has strengthened our culture. Putting the principles of Lean Manufacturing into practice is eroding the lost time which results from a lack of collaboration and poor communication and has given all levels of the organization strong cause for improving their own interpersonal behaviors. We look forward to further expanding our Lean mentality throughout more areas of the business and helping to foster it throughout our full supply chain both internally and externally” said Dan Adams, President & CEO, Manufacturing Technology, Inc.

Most training programs teach the fundamentals and techniques, but few require participants to put that knowledge into action. In Purdue MEP’s Lean Implementation Practitioner program, participants go from concept to implementation with results-driven projects, access to industry experts, and one-on-one project coaching. The ultimate goal of Purdue MEP’s training is to put Lean into action, resulting in cost savings for companies.

“A Lean journey is a long road considering the benchmark Toyota has been on theirs for several decades,” said Grif Maupin, Senior Productivity Specialist with Purdue MEP who led the training. This program gives individuals from the participating companies the knowledge of Lean tools and practical experience with them through the completion of a project. These projects were identified through the development of Value Stream Maps in order to see where constraints and wastes exist currently in their operations. Problem Solving tools and methods were applied to the issues identified to find high-impact, low-cost solutions for quick wins to their organizations. The long-term benefits come from the disciplined and repeated application of these tools which lead companies on a continuous improvement journey.”

The partnership between Purdue MEP and the City of South Bend remains strong and helps improve the lives and careers of those in the manufacturing industry.

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