We are manufacturing specialists, emphasizing high volume production parts processes, in the automotive and other industrial industries.
We are long time advocates of the lean initiatives first put forward by Taichi Ono at Toyota Motor Company. We have been one of the first passionate subscribers of the Toyota System, now generally common among many, but not all, industries.
Our efforts in lean were rewarded as the winner of the coveted Shingo Award for best lean manufacturing company in the United States. We, as the CEO, were awarded that honor in 1991. We continue with this passion for 25 years now.
We are "floor guys". Our strong preference is to be on the plant floor, talking to the operators, understanding their challenges, working side by side on the machines. Listening to them and observing their actions. We do this not as a punitive measure, indeed exactly the opposite, we do this to identify "muda", the waste in the process.
Our ideas come in a collaborative effort with the operators. We strongly believe the goals and the methodology of lean needs to be traveled together.
Many companies adopted lean years ago. This was done as a real "eye opener" to the operators and manufacturing supervisors and executives. In many companies that initial flare from the spectacular benefits has worn away. Usually upper management becomes less involved, there is less celebration of the victories. The President or plant manger, once the driving focus of successes, is now just too busy to attend such victory parties. Enthusiasm wanes and benefits slip as well.
A short story - in my passion to drive lean efforts and quality I was talking to a group of operators on the floor in our plant outside Delhi, India. The plant had quality measures of over 8,000 PPM. Communication was akward given the language barrier, but we endeavored to try. Content that I had scratched the surface on the importance of quality, I saw a small rusty sign hanging from its corner by a sole nail. It was written in Hindi. After asking what the sign said I was told : "Zero Defects".