Robust processes are the backbone for any organization to reduce waste, lower costs and create greater value for customers. At Atlas, we continually strive to improve our processes across our company from order-taking through product shipping. Here are just a few examples of results we’ve realized from changed processes.
In 2009 we embarked on a journey to improve our manufacturing process, reduce waste and, ultimately, improve customer value through adopting Lean Manufacturing practices and principles within our die manufacturing facilities. We have identified 9 forms of waste that we are working to reduce or eliminate.
- Overproduction: Producing more, sooner and faster than required by the next process
- Excess Transportation: Any transport that adds cost but no value to the product
- Excess Inventory: This not only is a waste, but also creates waste
- Excess Processing: Doing more work than necessary
- Waiting: Operator or machine idle time
- Correction: Repairs to products
- Motion: Walking or wasted motion to pick up or store parts
- Intellectual Capital: Not using the vast amount of knowledge our employees possess
- Variation: Lack of consistency in materials, machines, process, people, and methods
The result of recent kaizen events at our Elkhart facility show some of the benefits we have realized since adoption Lean Manufacturing:
- Lowered the change-over time of our laser by 41%
- Reduced our overall average lead time by 50%
- Gained 10% open floor space in our die shop
Opportunity Information Exchange (O.I.E.)
Every die package we make at Atlas Die is customized to meet the needs of our customers. Our customer files include data on customer equipment, die preferences and ultimate outcomes to ensure each die works effectively. However each carton or label could change those general specifications. Therefore we have developed a process called the Opportunity Information Exchange so that our Customer Service and Sales Professionals can capture the details on these unique jobs. The OIE checklists provide an opportunity for our teams to collaborate with our customers on how to improve performance and profitability with our steel rule or rotary die packages.
Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (INSHARP) provides certification to Indiana small businesses that have achieved an exemplary operating system of safety and health management. We are proud to be the first company in Elkhart County, Indiana, to have achieved the INSHARP certification. Both of our facilities in Elkhart, Indiana, are certified.
In order to be awarded the INSHARP certification, we maintained an average incident rate that was below the industry average for three years. IOSHA then reviewed our policies, inspected our facilities and interviewed our employees to ensure safe practices, systems and policies.
Our motto is “Safety is No Accident” and we have processes in place to make certain our workplaces are safe:
- Each Atlas facility has a Safety Coordinator who works with the Plant Manager on training, implementation and proactive safety measures.
- Close Call Reporting is utilized and encouraged at all Atlas facilities with safety observations being a part of our twice daily Gemba walks.
- Safety and first aid supplies are monitored as a first indicator that an unsafe practice may be occurring.
Safety, like quality, requires focus and commitment. Because of our dedication to safety, several of our divisions have had zero recordable incidents for over 1 year and some over 5 years. We are proud of our safety record and environment and continuously work to prevent injuries and provide a safe workplace for our employees.