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Lean Manufacturing Training for Electronic Services Provider

Posted by Tom Barczak on Dec 14, 2018 11:10:51 AM

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Operational Excellence Programs from MassMEP 

We recently participated in a workshop that resides under MassMEP’s (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) “Operational Excellence” programs, which addresses lean methodologies. The goal of these programs is to add in-depth knowledge, expertise, and business acumen to our entire team, enabling us to position ourselves for continued success as part of the “next-generation” manufacturing community. Using a grant to fund the training, 35 of us participated in this “Principles of Lean Manufacturing” workshop. 

Welcome to Lean Fourstar_500pxlAt Fourstar, we’ve been working on lean manufacturing initiatives for a few years now. As discussed in a previous blog, we’ve successfully implemented a host of lean improvements that include:

  • Freeing up space on employee workstations
  • Cleaning, decluttering, disposing of material, equipment, old legacy piping, etc.
  • Re-evaluating alternative layouts for the production floor and general environment
  • Purging and re-organizing the stock room

Some of the simple questions we ask when looking for physical improvements we can make to our facility are:  

  • What do you need?
  • Where it is?
  • How do you get someplace just by looking around?
  • Are there clear visuals to help me get there? 

At the core of lean principles is a focus on continuous improvement, and this workshop helped to bolster our collective commitment to seek out areas that we can, well, continue to improve upon!   

Click here to learn more about Fourstar's lean practices. 

The workshop used a performance-based, simulated manufacturing environment that provided a hands-on, experiential model for participating in a lean transformation. The goal of this workshop is to teach people how to eliminate waste and increase productivity and profitability, focusing on cycle-time reduction or manufacturing waste—as opposed to “traditional manufacturing philosophies [that] stress high utilization of machinery and manpower.” Of course, the ultimate outcomes are focused on gaining a competitive edge.  

In keeping with lean principles, the workshop covered the basics:

  • Overproduction
  • Wait time
  • Transportation
  • Inefficient processes
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Defects
  • Production bottlenecks

The learning objectives of the training include having participants:

  • Experience the frustrations inherent in traditional manufacturing environments
  • Participate in applying lean principles in a simulated shop floor environment
  • Understand the relationship between increased flow of materials, information, and products with increased profitability
  • Participate in the financial impact of a Time Wise Lean transformation

It looks like the objectives are hitting their targets, because according to MassMEP, the statistics from previous participants of this workshop support impressive ROI results:

  • 90% reduction in lead time
  • 85% reduction in work-in-progress
  • 85% improvement in quality
  • 50% increase in productivity
  • 50% reduction in floor space

One Dream—One Team 

Lean Production Floor_Fourstar-500pxlThis workshop has helped to re-invigorate our lean commitment. It reinforces our overall approach at Fourstar, which is to address everything, but to start small and simple as a first step for every new initiative. Some things will naturally present themselves as you unclutter the space physically and unclutter your mind from what you couldn’t previously see as possible. In Fourstar’s case, in the last few years, we looked at signs, focused on inconsistent details, saw things like old tape that needed to be removed, cleaned areas and washed items, organized, kept what we needed, and got rid of what we didn’t. We created leaders, made capital improvements, and redesigned the workspace and workflow with a modular, mobile production model. Our drive to keep it lean has worked well for all parties involved—from the production floor, to C-Suite and business model focus, when developing new product introductions (NPI) and design for manufacturability (DFM) projects for customers, and in our supply chain relationships with suppliers. 

Lean Is Simple 

Lean may be simple when broken down into completing one element at a time, but depending on the task ahead of you, it can also be involved. To learn lots more about the lean mindset, principles, tips on hiring consultants, and more practical details about what we did here at Fourstar, download this eBook, “How to Start Lean Manufacturing Improvements in Your Factory.”

 Yes, I Want to Make My Factory Lean!




Topics: Interconnect Solutions, Lean Manufacturing, Continuous Improvement, Electronic Manufacturing Service Provider

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Finding a Better Way

Fourstar partners with leading companies to problem solve, innovate, and find better ways for New Product Introduction (NPI) and Design for Manufacturing (DFM) initiatives.

What you get:

  • Our project management and manufacturing expertise
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  • Advanced IT systems
  • Exceptional customer support

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