Top Plant 2012: Masco Cabinetry
“About five years ago, equipment availability was a major challenge for Sayre. As our Lean culture grew, knowledge of TPM and a focus on repairing equipment to OEM specifications—or better—have really been the key improvement drivers,” Hawthorne added. “By involving operators in the events, and encouraging their involvement in the daily PMs, maintenance and operations have a constant focus on this metric with excellent results.”
When the Sayre plant started its Lean program, the teams explored Kaizen events and implemented Kaizen actions in the plant. “We started doing small events,” said Thurston. “We implemented a 5S program. Every month, we have a 5S audit to look for opportunities to improve a particular zone.”
The leadership team looked for ways to reduce the plant’s material costs. “Our biggest cost is wood,” Thurston said. “In 2011, we focused our value stream mapping on reducing wood waste. We looked at how much material is required to make a door and how much of the material was being thrown away. We looked at all the waste being thrown into the dumpsters and at that cost. When the teams investigated, they found that when the glued panels were produced, they were much larger than actually needed. The leftover wood from those panels was thrown in the dumpster. Now, we’re producing those pieces very close to size. After gluing, there’s minimal material being wasted.”
According to Thurston, the plant has a very strong Lean program. “It really has affected everybody on the plant floor,” Thurston said. “Being Lean is a never-ending goal. It may start with a goal, but success with Lean comes from the people—education, training, wanting to grow—it is a circle.”
During the first three quarters of 2012, Masco Cabinetry saved about $2 million in costs associated with process improvements. And of that $2 million, $500,000 was directly attributed to eliminating waste.
Maintaining equipment, production uptime
One-piece workflow and just-in-time manufacturing requires maximum equipment availability, which can create challenges for operations and maintenance departments. “The closer you get to just-in-time, the more integral machine uptime is,” said White. “If a machine is down for more than four hours, it could shut the entire plant down. So, the maintenance group must generate preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, and improve response times to ensure that downtime is minimized.”
The Sayre plant started implementing TPM in 2007. “That helped us considerably,” White said. “It reduced a lot of downtime. Every day, we had downtime on a piece of equipment that squares, clamps, and pins (fastens) the cabinet doors. We repeatedly had problems such as air leaks, manifold problems, out of square, pinning issues, and insufficient pin penetration.”
“With TPM, we got both operations and maintenance involved so we could work as a cohesive unit to keep the machines operational,” said White. “The operators were given tasks to perform each shift, at start-up and at shutdown. They were asked to handle some of the daily machine checks. Also, tool room personnel developed a program for pin gun maintenance to ensure they were working consistently every hour of every day. Between operations and maintenance, we developed a program for squaring checks to ensure that the machines were always square at the start and end of every shift.”
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.