Never Too Old for Lean


Chambersburg Public Opinion – 150 years: TB Wood's: Chambersburg's oldest manufacturer:

I don't mean “too old” in terms of people, I mean for an “old company.” Here's a story from Pennsylvania about a company that's planning on being around for “the next 150 years.”

“Workers today have the advantage of technology that wasn't around 150 years ago. ‘The machines are automated. It's not nearly as labor intensive as before,' said Tom Cook, the machine shop large casting value stream manager.

Walking through the machine shop, Cook pointed to a new machine brought in last year. ‘Something that used to take three to four days is now on a 35-minute cycle,' Cook said.

About two years ago, the company introduced ‘lean manufacturing' methods, designed to improve efficiency and reduce waste. ‘Lean system is the road map to where we need to go. Keeping costs down is imperative to be here for the next 150 years,' Crist said.”

The company is a survivor, that's for certain:

Chambersburg's oldest manufacturer, TB Wood's has survived the Civil War, the burning of Chambersburg, labor strikes, and a shift to offshore manufacturing.

With about 370 employees locally, TB Wood's is among the largest employers in Franklin County.

I hope their Lean efforts serve them well!

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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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