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Lean Manufacturing: Cut Time, Materials, Motion
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A State of Mind

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 17, 2014

Bill MacCauley, President, John Rock, Inc.

Everyone should make a resolution to be lean in 2014. It’s an ongoing process and a state of mind. At John Rock, we moved into a lean philosophy a long time ago. We try to keep it simple and empower our employees. We keep asking the employees, “What are you currently spending the bulk of your time on and what do you need to do it more efficient and faster?”

Automation is so important in staying lean, and John Rock is about as automated as we can be. Software is a great tool, but lean is a state-of-mind. We have invested in equipment to make our employees more efficient. There are so many considerations in going lean from the plant layout to the number of forklifts you’re using.

About ten years ago, we had three separate buildings. We were transferring products from one building to another. Now we’re in one building. We eliminated the need for three forklifts. Even considerations such as having concrete and paved roads save a lot of time. Lift trucks travel slower on gravel roads, pallets and lumber fall over on gravel. It’s all about time management and being efficient. Invest in new equipment and spend downtime on maintenance. You can’t expect to run an efficient production line if you have outdated worn out equipment.

We study every employee’s position in our facility and empower our employees to be more efficient. Being lean has certainly led to higher profits, cost-efficient production and improved employee morale. When you can involve your employees in the process, they are happier, and you can hold them accountable. You know, I’ve never been to a seminar on lean manufacturing, but we’ve learned over time what not to do. So far, it’s working for John Rock.

Tags:  automation  employees  lean  manufacturing  philosophy 

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