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curide Rockford Operations, said the facility
started its lean journey November 2011, so
2012-2013 was its first full year of lean.
“During that year, we reduced working cap-
ital by $1.27 million,” he said. “And we re-
duced lead time by 14 days, or 61 percent.”
Pecor said the first thing Rockford Op-
erations did was value stream map all of
its value streams.
“We found where our inventory pockets
were sitting and implemented pull systems
for only quantities that were needed,” he
said. “Now we knew what we needed to
make and how many to make.”
The Rockford team also created stan-
dardized work so that employees were
doing the same job no matter what shift
they were on.
To maximize overall equipment effectiveness
(OEE), charts were developed for machine
and operator balance, improving OEE from a
mid-60s percentage to 85.5 percent.
Also since 2012, scrap in the plant has
been reduced by 82 percent.
Pecor described the Rockford Operations’
pull system as similar to the way a major
retail grocery chain restocks its shelves —
employees are signaled how much prod-
uct is needed to replenish stock when
inventory is low. The company figures out
how many parts a customer needs per
day and tags the end of a batch in finished
goods to alert production that another
batch should begin production to make
enough inventory to fill customer requests
During the first 18 months of the facility’s
lean journey, the drum machining value
stream successfully created four pull loops,
reducing $1.4 million in inventory and free-
ing up 25,000 square feet of floor space.
Other key wins during this lean journey
included the plant using an A3 process
to reduce changeover downtime for
cells that needed to change to make
different parts. Via a cross-functional
team focused on set-up reduction to
minimize changeover time, downtime
was reduced by 60 percent. As a result,
productivity increased 53.4 percent, and
parts per minute went from 12.9 to 19.8 .
Helping customers learn lean
Rockford Operations also is sharing its
lean knowledge with customers. Rep-
resentatives of one of the plant’s global
OEM customers visited the facility to
observe its lean operations. They were so
impressed with the plant’s kanban and
inventory management systems that they
asked Rockford team members to visit
their facility for a three-day workshop to
map value streams for its brake drums.
“As a result, they were able to reduce their
in-house inventory and save more than
$100,000,” Pecor said. “We helped them
establish a pull system on five brake drum
parts at one of their assembly plants. We
started with two part numbers — the highest
running parts they purchase from Accuride.”
If the OEM plant uses 21 Accuride parts
for its production today, an EDI signal
is sent to Accuride and 21 more will be
headed there tomorrow. “This allows us
to reduce our inventory and them to have
very low inventory, as well,” he said.
Accuride now is on a pull system with all of
the OEM’s North American plants, Pecor
What lean has meant for the facility
For Accuride’s Rockford Operations,
Pecor said, lean has meant reducing
overtime, higher on-time delivery and the
complete elimination of past-dues.
For its employees, it means less confu-
sion, more streamlined processes and
overall happier team members who
know the company’s expectations and
how to perform to those standards.
Personally, Pecor said, “Lean has made
me a much better manager of people and
assets. It’s given me a clearly defined
system to manage equipment, invento-
ries, customer suppliers and people.”
As to the future, Pecor said the plant
plans to expand the lean successes that
have happened inside its walls to its key
external partners, including its suppliers
and additional customers.
“Through one end of the value stream
to the other, ideally, we’d want to share
every idea on value stream mapping that
we can,” he said.
This was a dirty,
business that had been left
for dead by its previous
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