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Lean Efforts Capture the Shingo

A subsidiary of HNI Corp. (Mustacine, IA), the second-largest manufacturer of office furniture in North America, Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT; Mt. Pleasant, IA) manufactures sheetmetal fireplaces (both wood and gas-burning), vent pipe, and fireplace accessories. The company has four manufacturing facilities.

Sustaining a Lean Culture

Earlier this year, at the 21st annual Shingo Prize conference awards ceremony, Autoliv Americas’ airbag module facility in Ogden, UT, was awarded The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. This was the second Shingo Prize won by the Autoliv Ogden Airbag Assembly (AOA) plant.

Lean at NUMMI

To remain competitive in the fiercely contested North American automotive industry, the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI, Fremont, CA) assembly plant, a joint venture between Toyota Motor Corp. (Aichi Prefecture, Japan) and General Motors Corp. (Detroit), has rededicated its efforts in lean manufacturing during the past few years by applying key tenets of the Toyota Production System (TPS). 

Lean Techniques: Yokoten

If you have never heard the term Yokoten, prepare yourself. It has been added to the Lean Operations lexicon as an important activity. Yokoten is being used by lean firms to help them become leaner. Yokoten is a Japanese term that can be roughly translated as “across everywhere.”

Narrowing the Skills Gap

Technological gains, young ambassadors, apprenticeships help. But manufacturers’ training investment remains a problem.

More US funds needed to address workforce skills gap

A strong manufacturing ecosystem that includes manufacturing engineering education is critical to ensuring the future vitality and innovation of manufacturing initiatives in the US. So it was welcome news to learn that the DOD is developing a new manufacturing engineering education (MEE) grant program, authorized by Congress with initial funding of $10 million for fiscal 2017.

Use-based maintenance beats alternatives hands down

Unplanned downtime and production loss due to equipment failure is one of the leading losses for manufacturers. Most shops perform maintenance on a fixed schedule or on failure. This means a machine will be maintained regardless of how often it is used and unexpected breakdowns will stop production.

Serious About Industry 4.0? Then Adopt Open Standards

Listen up, major manufacturers and CAD vendors: You’ve got the whole world in your hands—the world in this case being the vision of the digitally connected enterprise and cyber-physical ambitions for Industry 4.0.

Savvy systems open door to extreme customization

New systems, software and processes are replacing so-called islands of automation with seamless, automated manufacturing lines that boost overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) from 30 to 80% or more.

Smart Manufacturing: Think Big, Start Small

Smart manufacturing is about making the best decisions in the shortest time possible based on the most accurate real-time data—whether those decisions are made by people, machines or cyber-physical systems.