NEPCON West - Fiberoptic Expo Conference Proceedings


Author: Collin McLoughlin
Company: Gemba Research LLC
Date Published: 12/3/2002   Conference: NEPCON West - Fiberoptic Expo

Abstract: This paper will be a case study of a highly successful transformation of a company using Kaizen as the underlying strategy. Why do many companies struggle or fail to make continuous process improvement take root their lean efforts? They ignore cultural factors, relying too much on a small team of experts to implement textbook solutions. This case study will show that by emphasizing the goals and the continuous improvement culture needed to achieve them, the management was effectively able to let the workers establish one-piece flow production.

A leading manufacturer of laser surgery devices in Utah converted from traditional manufacturing to lean manufacturing. They followed the Toyota Production System model, using a combination of kaizen workshops and daily improvement activities lead by the employees.

They achieve tripled throughput, inventory reduction of 40%, lead-time reduction of 75%, and space savings of greater than 60% in six months. More significant than these results was the immediate impact on the company culture. Improvement input surged, communication between individuals and departments improved, cleanliness and organization improved, and worker morale improved.

The paper will use a case study to cover approaches to Lean Enterprise Transformation, training techniques used, pitfalls to avoid, and lessons learned.

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