W.S. Darley Company faced increased competition in the global economy and wanted to take its manufacturing operation to the next level of effectiveness by focusing on three key areas: reducing lead time, reducing cost and developing a stronger culture of continuous improvement.
Project managers from University of Wisconsin-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) met with Darley's leadership team, then developed a recommended course of action that included Lean training, value stream mapping, kanban strategies, system performance measures to promote change, and improvements to production scheduling.
An initial system was established to ensure parts were at the assembly area as scheduled. Next, the team implemented a set-up reduction process and dedicated themselves to keep working on improvements. The team also revised the company's scheduling system to integrate and merge Lean flow principles into performance measures that better reflect the new goals. The company has established a continuous improvement team that generates positive change on a weekly basis.