Innovation at Lantech
Ron Hicks - The Man Who Implemented Lean in Lantech - Interview in 2013
Ron Hicks' degree was in industrial engineering in 1972. He then went through the intensive three-year manufacturing management program at General Electric Co.
To understand and implement lean, the new industrial engineering - management paradigm, I have to learn first that the many philosophies taught during my industrial engineering course are null and void and are replaced by better paradigms is the statement of Hicks.
The old American manufacturing model is being replaced by a leaner, more automated environment in which the global competition is the driving force. There are still many in America who do things the same way they always have, because it worked then and it still works now.
Lantech chooses lean approach
The goal of lean thinking is to identify what adds value to the product from a customer's perspective (painting a piece adds value; time spent looking for the right tool does not) and then to cut out as much waste as possible.
The work then is designed to flow at a pace to create what the customer needs, when the customer needs it.
Before switching to lean manufacturing, Lantech worked under the traditional batch-and-queue process in process layout.
Production scheduling was complicated, involving multiple departments and the entire process required space for huge inventories of material and finished products.
In the lean model a cell has all of the equipment it needs to build a certain type of machine. Lantech builds only to order, and a machine that used to take weeks now is completed in a single day,
Problems are found immediately because inspection and verification are done at the site where the machine is built. In the lean system, Lantech has seen "a quantum leap in quality." Now Lantech produces a broader range of product, three times the output, but still empty space in the plant and customers that are satisfied.
Lean Lantech Vision - Jim Lancaster, President, Lantech
Pat Lancaster, Father of Jim Lancaster implemented Lean in Lantech in 1992 with Ron Hicks as VP, Operations