Client: Lincoln Foodservice Products, Inc.

The Summary

In a relatively short amount of time, HMC helped this food equipment manufacturer significantly increase output and efficiency, while helping to change attitudes and behaviors that had historically stifled progress. Through their Holistic Manufacturing™ approach, HMC addressed both the technological and the human systems-which led to the tremendous improvements this company enjoys today, including: doubling their output of conveyor ovens in 6 months, reducing lead times, increasing on-time delivery and improving overall productivity.


"I can't believe how much things have changed in such a short time; our jobs used to be complete chaos. We were constantly 'putting out fires' just to survive and we were always trying to catch up. We've doubled our production and now we spend our time on continuous improvement. This is a different company!"
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"The most important change that HMC helped us to achieve was the attitude of the employees-from operators to top executives. The rampant pessimism that pervaded the company has changed to a healthier, goal-focused outlook-driven by the understanding that continuous improvement is key to maintaining our company's quest to achieve the status of a world-class manufacturer."


The Challenge
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

The Approach
HMC sent 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.

Overall, HMC 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.

Consequently, HMC 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 and sales.

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 Results
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 communications.


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