Farwest Fabricators is a small to mid-sized sheet metal fabrication job shop in Moxee, Washington serving the regional market.
The scope of this engagement was to teach the principles of lean manufacturing to the manufacturing management team, develop and implement a principle-proving pilot line and impart the principles to the existing system to set up continued improvement throughout the organization.
The company was purchased by OneAccord's investment fund, Solomons Fund, with the goal to move the business up in the market, grow revenues and increase the value of the business.
The infrastructure to accomplish these goals did not exist at the time of purchase, and OneAccord's operational arm was brought in to help establish and train existing personnel on the principles necessary to obtain the stated goals.
Our approach was holistic and our goal was to train the FarWest team to manage and grow a continuous improvement process using a pilot line. The major phases of our work included:
Evaluation: an assessment of the day-to-day operations of the business to identify the top priorities for improvement
Executive Training: training in Lean manufacturing for the company's executive team
Production Training: a crawl, walk, run approach to top-level, detailed training in Lean processes for FarWest's production managers and production personnel
Finally, we redesigned and rebuilt machinery that provided Farwest with an automated powder coat system.
The pilot line saved more than 98 percent of travel time and produced a product in 1/10th the total cycle time with 40 percent less labor than the company's previous methodology.
The FarWest team has continued to implement the principles demonstrated in the pilot line, doubling throughput in half the space 10 times faster, paving the way for increased revenues without excessive capital expenditures.
The automated powder coat system has led to 25 percent increase in capacity at less than half the cost of a new system.