This year Lou-Rich will reach a very significant milestone is our companies’ history; 50 years in business. One of the things engrained in the culture of the organization is never being satisfied with how things operate as they do today. Lou-Rich is full of people who start a lot of conversations with, “well, what if we…..”. Sometimes the results of such conversations bring small changes, little improvements, to the process bring worked on; and other times we shoot for larger impact. I want to talk a little about one of those larger efforts.
The photo below shows a day one recap of a continuous improvement event we conducted in mid-March of this year. Our largest customer, a division of GE, making sophisticated medical imaging equipment, is seeing tremendous market growth, and needs to ramp up additional production.
There are hundreds of parts in this high-level assembly, the majority of which are manufactured at Lou-Rich; however we source many items as well. As with so many things today, there are delays and instability in the supply chain and very long lead times for some key purchased components. While our purchasing team is hard at work managing those outsourced items, we also wanted to look at process improvement ideas internally.
We decided to hold a two-day Value Stream Mapping event with four key members of the GE team, along with multiple Lou-Rich employee-owners. Every aspect of the production flow is accounted for in our Current State, and then many ideas for potential improvement are identified for our Future State. The target is to reduce the overall lead time by 50% and increase throughput capacity 30% through the reduction or elimination of waste in the Current State. Being able to engage in this work openly and thoughtfully with our customer is incredibly important and meaningful. There is work to be done to reach that goal, but that work will get done together.
The spirit of continuous improvement and close collaboration with our customers, are two of the reasons Lou-Rich has reached 50 years in business and continues to thrive.