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Lean for Small Businesses in Rockford IL

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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 is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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