Implementation of Lean Manufacturing Methods Improves Competitiveness of Midwest Precision

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Midwest Precision LLC; a precision machining and assembly contract manufacturer, is improving the competitiveness of its business operations by implementing Lean Manufacturing methods.

A 6S Program organizes the plant floor in zones with an owner accountable for continuous improvement

A 6S Program organizes the plant floor in zones with an owner accountable for continuous improvement

Our objective is to be the premier precision machining / assembly contract manufacturer in the world and we are taking the necessary steps to achieve that objective.

Midwest Precision is announcing their newly implemented Lean Manufacturing Methods program to improve the competitiveness of their precision manufacturing and assembly services.

The first step in the lean process starts with a 6S Program that consists of six steps:

  •     Sort
  •     Straighten
  •     Shine
  •     Standardize
  •     Sustain
  •     Safety

“Implementing 6S in the shop and offices has led to increased efficiencies and reduced costs,” states Paul Ruley, Midwest Precision’s Vice President of Engineering and Operations. “For example, our job setup personnel no longer need to search for tooling and hardware which improves machine tool uptime. Consumable tooling is now inventoried in our business system and cataloged electronically using bar code technology, saving several hours a day and eliminating excess inventory of expensive tooling”.

To keep the focus on sustaining the 6S program, the plant floor and office areas have been organized into zones with each assigned an owner who is accountable for continuous improvement. Monthly audits determine a score for each of the 6S elements. Monthly scores are charted, posted to provide visual reinforcement, and reviewed by Midwest's Quality Management System.

Another Lean Manufacturing tool implemented by Midwest Precision is “visual management.” This highlights work queues and increases visibility of bottlenecks to company personnel. Other examples of visual management being used include production cycle metrics, outside process queue tracking and product traceability cards.

Midwest Precision is using Information Technology on the plant floor to supplement its lean initiatives. These include paperless labor reporting and electronic scheduling displays. For labor reporting, bar coded job routers are scanned by employees when reporting production, preventing errors and providing production information to management immediately. Electronic scheduling displays reduce queue time and eliminate waste by highlighting job readiness through a “red / green” matrix. An “all green” matrix signals to setup personnel that all elements of a job are in place prior to beginning a setup.

“Our objective is to be the premier precision machining / assembly contract manufacturer in the world and we are taking the necessary steps to achieve that objective” said Ruley. Lean techniques are a key element of our continuous improvement efforts.”

About Midwest Precision
Established in 1953, Midwest Precision, formerly known as Midwest Screw Products, is an AS9100 / ISO 9001 certified manufacturer of precision machined components and assemblies for the Aerospace, Defense, Power Generation and Engineered Industrial markets. The company is well-known for its innovative manufacturing engineering, value-adding capabilities including program management and expertise in precision machining and assembly of close tolerance materials including Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Nickel Alloys, Titanium and other engineered materials.

Midwest Precision was formed by former executives of International Motion Control, a global leader in industrial and aerospace motion control components and systems. Midwest Precision applies operational expertise and investment discipline to successfully grow industrial manufacturing companies.

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Kim Nelson
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