Lean Best Practice Award 2012 highlights

The Lean Division of IIE completed its 2nd industry best practice award in May 2012. This award recognized organizations for their innovative and effective implementation of lean principles and practices that delivered exemplary business performance improvement. The Lean Best Practice Award 2012 was a great success. There were eleven submissions for this award and two of them were from overseas. Based on pre-screening evaluation, only top four teams were selected as finalists and were allowed to present their case in the IIE Annual Conference 2012, Orlando, Fla. The 2012 finalist teams represented the following companies:

  • Pelco Products Inc.
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Algent Health
  • BAE Systems

The award committee bestowed the Lean Best Practice Award 2012 to the top three teams who accepted their awards from IIE president. The MD Anderson Cancer Center won the first place, while the Pelco Products won the second place and the BAE Systems won the third place. Following are the short descriptions of winning projects.

The Lean Journey at MD Anderson’s Labs: The initial project exceeded the 25 percent turnaround time reduction goals for both areas of the hospital, in addition to exceeding expectations in space savings, personnel time saved and direct dollar savings. The division then developed a lean department, that later also became proficient in Six Sigma and was formalized as a Quality Improvement section, as a focused resource on improvement opportunities throughout the 18 different labs in the division. The small team has led or facilitated 58 projects since 2004, adopting many lean and Six Sigma innovative solutions with demonstrated results and sustainability. Several of the tools used and the innovative solutions achieved from them are described below and shown in the attachment.

Manufacturing Warehouse Conversion to a Lean Pull System at Pelco: During the first quarter of 2010, Pelco converted to a new manufacturing system (ERP). As a result of the system conversion and associated issues, on-time shipments fell dramatically. These issues included knowledge of the new ERP, productivity levels of employees, and existing problems involving production processes from receiving, through manufacturing parts-picking (order fill from the raw warehouse), assembly, finished goods warehouse and order fulfillment. Customer order fulfillment suffered dramatically during the first 6 months after “Go-Live.” Change was made to the process for “picking” orders from the warehouse, as well as role responsibilities of warehouse personnel. The basic flow of materials from raw warehouse to finished goods was dramatically changed from a pure push system to a pull system utilizing both supermarkets (kanban storage) and work orders for discrete jobs. The warehouse as a department was effectively “dismantled” and the work force reassigned in support of the new process. Lean tools were utilized during the project, and management began tracking this information in a process behavior (control) chart to understand what the process is doing and what it is capable of doing.

A Lean Transformation in Material Handling at BAE Systems: The transformation of the warehouse provides a long term strategy that increases material flow and optimizes storage methodologies by segregating material based on size, weight, volume, and point of use in the factory. This allows for standardized work throughout the process that enables material flow using common equipment, conveyance, and storage methods. The new process gives requirements for point of use storage methods and defined locations that enable material handlers to store and pick material in less time and motion while using less equipment. Further, a formal supplier collaboration process for standardized packaging and quantities was implemented for incoming material to match the optimized material flow and storage requirements strategy. Finally, a visual management tool called Heijunka was deployed to assist supervisor and employees in reducing bottlenecks, monitoring efficiency, identifying bottlenecks, and eliminating barriers in the material flow process.

2012 Committee Chair:
MD Sarder
University of Southern Mississippi

2012 Committee Members:
Aman Sapra, Beth Cudney, Marjorie Koch, Martin Nazareth, Haley Byrne, and Ira Dunoff

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