Like most manufacturers striving to become more competitive, Lincoln
Foodservice Products had attempted a transition toward just-in-time
production. Due to a variety of reasons, the transition had stalled
and the company's business performance was faltering. Coupled with the
declining performance was an increasingly pessimistic climate pervading
the company, stifling communication, and impeding any efforts to halt
the company's precipitous decline. Poor relations between the company
and its unionized workforce further exacerbated the situation. Production
was primarily a push, batch-and-queue system, with few viable processes
in place. The processes that were in place were overly complex, poorly
understood and rarely adhered to by the workforce. Supervisors were
consumed with chasing lost or late parts, rework, and down equipment.
The future of this once profitable company was clearly at risk, and
there were few believers that a turn-around was possible.
Because of its expertise in producing breakthrough
manufacturing results and sustainable improvements, HMC
was hired to work with Lincoln Foodservice Products to re-implement
their just-in-time production process
a small team to conduct a comprehensive diagnostic. The team conducted
interviews with all levels of personnel and analyzed all of their production
lines, processes and facilities. All areas of the manufacturing process
were reviewed, including raw materials, returns, tools, scheduling,
procedures, training, culture, management, history, parts, set-up, use
of manufacturing systems, order entry, dispatch, returns and work-flow.
found the situation to be typical of many manufacturers struggling to
survive in an increasingly competitive, global marketplace. However,
it was apparent that the challenges with their human systems
attitudes, expectations, training, and culture would have to
be addressed initially. It was imperative that the culture, attitudes,
and management styles would have to change. If not, any production improvements
that were implemented would soon be lost as old attitudes would likely
resurface and begin to choke off any gains that had been achieved.
established a number of teams comprised of management, engineers, supervisors,
unionized production workers and other representatives to develop and
implement solutions to some of the most significant problems impeding
the changes that were necessary to move forward. These teams addressed
a wide variety of matters including: training, equipment design, maintenance,
material flow, purchasing, and marketing. At the same time, HMC
established routine sales and operations planning sessions in an attempt
to synchronize what had been a fractured relationship between production
To address production issues HMC
then aggressively orchestrated plans to redesign and reorganize the
major production lines to create product value streams emphasizing pull-driven
flow, shorter production distances, and better visual control. Getting
the new lines operational as quickly as possible was necessary to demonstrate
some successes that would establish some credibility and facilitate
other needed changes. This was a major effort, and required extensive
coordination to minimize disruption of ongoing production.
HMC was able to
help Lincoln Foodservice simplify their workflow and increase production
efficiency. They also introduced new manufacturing techniques and technologies
that improved their material handling and machine set-up time. More
important, though, was the creation and implementation of standardized
procedures and more effective communication tools that reduced downtime
and increased throughput.
The biggest transformation for this company was the improvement made
with the human systems. For instance, sales and production now work
as a team, supporting the overall goals of the business. A new-found
customer-oriented focus is reflected in on-time
delivery rates that have improved by 18%
and warranty costs that have dropped 16%.
Overtime costs have fallen by 41%
and productivity is up over 15%.
Slashed cycle and lead times are reflected in the fact that an order
for the most popular production model is now often shipped the same
day-a vast improvement over past delivery times of four- to-five weeks.
On-time shipments rose from 71% to 92%
while production nearly doubled! In the fabrication area, which had
been the primary production bottleneck, setup
times have already been slashed by 73% on key machines,
and work in process is down 88%.
Equipment time lost to maintenance is down by over 10%, primarily due
to a disciplined preventative maintenance program and better overall