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have asked us to show them how to do
lean processes,” she said. For example,
an original equipment customer asked
the Accuride purchasing group to do a
site audit to reduce the company’s lead
“We worked together to create a mar-
ket and pull system for their key part
numbers,” Marhevko said. “Their on-site
inventory was reduced by half, and pre-
mium freight was largely eliminated.”
Pillars of success
To continuously improve its business
in its lean journey, Accuride focuses on
four areas: lean operations, transaction-
al processes, alignment of key value
streams across the business enterprise
and incorporation of outside partners,
such as customers and suppliers. These
areas require interactive engagement
from Accuride employees. Many of
Accuride’s sites are union-based. The
company feels it could not have attained
these levels of sustained and integrated
improvement without the support of its
First, Marhevko said, lean operations is
not sustainable without the three other
“Using lean practices has led to reduced
inventories and improved working capital
and inventory turns,” Marhevko said.
“Everything is firing at all levels.”
Second, transactional processes also
need to improve their flows. “If these
teams aren’t equally focused in rapid
and accurate delivery of their informa-
tion, operations suffers.
“Getting these transactional processes
streamlined across the support teams
is critical. These teams include supply
chain, finance, engineering, sales and
marketing,” Marhevko said.
At the start of its lean journey, Accuride
used Harris Lean Systems (HLS) to get
things started. It grew in scope to add
the transactional and partner processes.
HLS practitioners still support ACW
teams with its fresh-eyes approach.
Next, the company worked on improving
its value streams across the enterprise
inside the company using value stream
maps on inventory traveling between
facilities by truck, train or boat.
“We’re leveraging an ‘inside out’
approach by focusing on the
‘microflows’ within the facilities. We are
better positioned for success when we
can build upon a more stable platform,”
she said. “We are five years into our
journey, and we continue to see op-
portunity as we expand our scope. We
believe that there are millions of dollars
of more opportunity in our finished
goods, in-transit raw materials and work
in process inventories.”
Finally, Accuride turns its attention
outside the company to its external
supply chain partners. A plan for every
part (PFEP) is created for incoming raw
materials and MRO supplies.
For customers, lean on the transactional
side of things also is important. “Cus-
tomers order goods and take delivery
in different ways,” Marhevko said. “You
need to be agile in managing orders and
optimizing the logistics of the delivery
Visual operating systems (VOS) are very
important at Accuride. The company uses
more than 20 unique forms of VOS across
its sites. VOS make processes visible to
the people using them. And since the
VOS is standardized, anyone can under-
stand and use the system at any facility.
Accuride uses the Toyota Production
System model for its lean deployment.
Initiatives are tied to the company’s
strategies by the use of Hoshin Kanri. The
Kanri is developed by a lean council in a
face-to-face session. The council, made
up of members from each facility, then
meets monthly to review performance to
objectives and to share lessons learned.
Results of a lean journey
Accuride has seen many notable improve-
ments during its lean journey to date.
Since lean is about flow, one of the more
critical metrics is lead time (LT). Since
first establishing its baselines on nine
value streams, Accuride has reduced its
LT on average by 54 percent.
“The cliché of ‘time is money’ is true,”
Marhevko said. “Lead time reduction
has enabled an average 60 percent
increase in productivity. Days inventory
on hand (DIOH) has also been reduced
by 38 percent.
“As we evaluated standard work in the
direct labor positions, we grew the applica-
tion of the tool to indirect roles, as well. This
has led to increased business efficiencies
and process knowledge,” she added.
In 2015, about 3.3 percent of its work-
force was redeployed as a result of
lean initiatives in workload balance and
non-replacement of personnel due to
attrition and/or reduction.
The cliché of ‘time is money’ is true. Lead time
reduction has enabled an average 60 percent increase
in productivity. Days inventory on hand (DIOH) has also
been reduced by 38 percent. As we evaluated standard
work in the direct labor positions, we grew the application
of the tool to indirect roles, as well. This has led to
increased business efficiencies and process knowledge.
VICE PRESIDENT OF QUALITY, LEAN
MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND EHS AT ACCURIDE
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