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Monday, July 16, 2018

Lean Leaders Meeting at Legrand Wiremold

I wanted to share with everyone a recent article written by Joe Rizzo. Director of the New England Lean Consortium, who visited my place of work recently.

The New England Lean Consortium is a dynamic, member-driven organization dedicated to advancing Lean in all sectors of our economy. Driven by members needs, the NELC can provide the philosophy, tools, and techniques to meet today's business challenges through members serving members, including but not limited to the following sectors: manufacturing, service/transaction, businesses, education, healthcare, and government.

The New England Lean Consortium held its June 2018 Lean Leaders Meeting at Legrand Wiremold in West Hartford, CT, on Thursday, June 28th. This was a Member only meeting as Legrand Wiremold, is not a member of the New England Lean Consortium. The NELC recognizes that not all the best practices in Lean and Operational Excellence reside in the member companies. Therefore, we visit non-member companies that are considered Centers of Excellence, or companies that are well down the road on their Lean Journey. Legrand Wiremold was prominently mentioned in the book, “Lean Thinking” by James Womack and Dan Jones. At the time the company was Wiremold and since been purchased by Legrand of France.

Michael Kijak, Plant Manager, and Timothy McMahon, Lean Champion, provided an extensive tour of the facility, and answered numerous questions along the way. All throughout the plant there was evidence of a strong Lean culture, employee engagement, and the implementation of Lean tools, philosophies and principles.

The plant operates on the philosophy of making a little bit of everything every day. This requires a flexible workforce, short setup times and quick changeovers of equipment. It also requires cells, minimum WIP, good flow, an efficient kanban system, and the extensive use of heijunka boxes to schedule the plant.

Our first stop was at a typical assembly cell, where all the tools, parts, supplies and materials were stored at point of use. Each operator assembled a full unit, to a given TAKT time. The operators kept track of their daily progress with the use of an hour by hour board.
Assembly Cell with "Chase the Rabbit" Technique    

A stamping press with a changeover time of ten to fifteen minutes    

“Pizza slice” listing of PPE requirements in each work area

Collection of Andon lights outside die maintenance shop  

Employee engagement through submission of improving ideas

Kanban cards     

Michael Kijak explaining the cards in the heijunka box

Daily performance indicators with status  

Daily accountability board with tasks and due dates for corrective action

As a reward for allowing the NELC to tour the facility, we conducted a Plus/Delta session to conclude the meeting. The Pluses were all the things that the attendees saw and liked. The Deltas were the improving ideas that the attendees offered to the host company.

As a token of appreciation, Michael was given a copy of a recently published book, “The New Collar Workforce” by Sarah Boisvert.

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