Small Automotive Parts Supplier Competes with the Big Boys

Results recently attained by a small automotive parts manufacturer that is competing with larger North American suppliers. Their challenge was the price of materials in the past couple years more than quadrupled and there was no alternate supplier of those specific materials. They had 3 options:

  1. shut down
  2. hope the material costs would settle back to previous pricing very soon or
  3. determine if they could drastically remove costs within their existing processes that would allow them to compete on price and quality.

The management were not going to be defeated and decided to go with examining their current process and removing the waste and increase the flow throughout the facility.

Teaming up with one of our senior consultants for approximately 10 days, they became trained on Lean and simultaneously adapted, and applied, the concepts to transform their business.

In this short period of time, they completed more than 10 kaizens. Some are:

  • reduce the # of set ups by combining bending on one part
  • reduced the # of cutting operations
  • reduced the finished goods inventory saving over $150k on the first kaizen in that area
  • improved the quality of their welding operation to eliminate re-work in two different operations

These kaizens are only the beginning and they have identified many more that need to be completed to reach their Future State. They will now turn their attention to the Finished Goods area and reducing the footprint/space necessary in the Shipping area.

By following the structured Lean transformation approach, the management and staff are now excited about the future survival of the business and even about growing the business. Congratulations to all of them!