Lean for Small Businesses in Rockford IL


    Rockford Register Star | Web site of the Rock River Valley

    Here's a small case study from Rockford IL:

    For Leading Edge, a 120-employee shop that fabricates hydraulic tubing, the same Lean methods have increased efficiency, shortened response times and made the company more attractive as a supplier to Caterpillar, John Deere, Komatsu and other makers of off-highway equipment.

    “One of the critical things we're all faced with India and China on their cost advantages on the labor side and lack of environmental regulations is how do you compete?” said Russ Dennis Jr., vice president. “Well, the only way you can compete is on speed and quality.”

    It's great to see companies using Lean to compete instead of making excuses, eh?

    With the success at Leading Edge, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council is using a relatively small state grant to sponsor Lean training for area companies.

    I hope that the companies will put the training to use. 8 weeks of training can be muda (waste) if the student companies aren't actively applying their Lean lessons. It's much easier to learn by doing, you can't learn it all in the classroom. Now that I think about it, 8 weeks of training seems like a lot. Is this 40 hours a week x 8 weeks?

    Really, I'm hoping this is the best $60,000 the State of Illinois has spent in a long time.

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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