Nevada Industry Excellence
B&J, Inc. Reduces Lead Time with Lean
B&J, Inc., is a second generation, family-owned manufacturer specializing in precision machining and sheet metal product design and fabrication. Founded in 1972, B&J employs 60 people at its facility in Sparks, Nevada.
B&J began challenging itself to identify and eliminate non value-added activities and other forms of waste to improve its customer lead times and operating efficiency as a means of remaining competitive in its marketplace. This led to a dialogue between Cherie and Gregg Fisher, B&J’s President and VP & Operations Manager, and Bob Bricca, Project Manager with Nevada Industry Excellence, a NIST MEP network affiliate. Bricca had a long-standing relationship with B&J, keeping them abreast of the latest manufacturing techniques and qualified resources for honing their competitive edge. The Fisher’s decided to transition their manufacturing and support operations to Lean Enterprise, a disciplined process for identifying and eliminating non-value added activities in their processes. Non-value added activities are those that a customer is unwilling to pay for such as searching for a tool that wasn’t in its proper place or walking clear across a building to get material which wasn’t staged near the processing machine.
Bricca introduced the Fisher’s to Gary Conner, President of Lean Enterprise Training, an internationally recognized lean trainer and implementation consultant. Together, Bricca and Conner provided a suite of Lean techniques training workshops for both management and shop floor employees. B&J was well positioned to adopt Lean manufacturing techniques because it is ISO 9001:2008 registered and adept at teamwork practices. B&J further benefited by having the opportunity to apply Lean techniques on the shop floor as part of the training. With Nevada Industry Excellence’s assistance, B&J has implemented a number of Lean techniques on the shop floor, including 1) Value Stream Mapping, utilizing cross functional teams, time recording, video recording and programmed Excel spreadsheets to record each and every step in a current process or work cell used to identify and eliminate waste and inefficiency; 2) 5S (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain), a process to create and maintain a safe, clean, neat arrangement of the workplace with specific locations for everything and eliminating anything not required; 3) Setup Reduction, analyzing and reducing the time between the last good piece off a current production run and the first good piece off the next run; and 4) Cellular 1-piece flow, systematically changing batch production to one-piece flow or ‘make one and move one.’ The implementation of the Lean techniques has significantly changed the manufacturing process and resulted in positive impacts for the business.
- Invested $600,000 in new manufacturing equipment.
- Reduced setup time by 55 percent.
- Reduced work in process by 40 percent.
“Our Lean enterprise journey has enabled us to significantly shorten customer lead times and improve operating efficiency. We intend to continue this journey and get even better than we already are.”
Gregg Fisher, VP & Operations Manager