Operational Excellence Journey at Hale UK
Hale UK looked beyond implementing lean manufacturing principles
In 2007, Hale UK jump-started their journey toward Operational Excellence. They had begun their lean journey the year before, with minimal success. “It was a combination of things,” says John Higgs, Director of Manufacturing. “Number one, the management didn’t really buy into the whole ‘lean’ concept. Number two, we didn’t really know what we were doing – it was just another tool for us, not a methodology.” In 2007 there was a change in management, who came in with the intent to implement lean within their factory.
They had three value streams they wanted to update: the 8-5, the 10-10, and the World Series pumps. Each process shared the painting, testing, and prep/pack areas, but differed widely in the assembly. They knew they were in for a complicated process, and brought Duggan Associates in to give them the tools they would need.
The 8-5 pump was the first value stream they worked on. Before the improvement process began, the 8-5 process alone required parts from forty different suppliers, and each pump took a full day of skilled labor to produce. It usually took between 6 and 8 weeks to fill an order. Management designated a cross-functional team of people to work on improving the value stream two days a week, a significant investment of time and resources.