Early in 1999, Matthews Bronze and Maynard entered into a partnership. Matthews Bronze had a desire to improve manufacturing productivity and begin a Lean journey through the use of Pull-Through (Lean) Manufacturing techniques.
Matthews has realized the following improvements in the photopolymer operation:
61% increase in throughput
69% reduction in production response time
300% increase in value-added ratio
75% reduction in defective pieces
York Caskets to remain competitive needed to reduce unit costs by 20 to 40 percent. To reach this goal, York partnered with H.B. Maynard and Company, Inc. for assistance in converting the wood casket plant to a Lean Continuous Flow operation.
The strategy recommended by Maynard was to first design a Lean Manufacturing system using sound industrial engineering tools, including value-stream analysis, work method design and work balancing using engineered time standards, and kanban-controlled work flow.
This initiative provided an immediate impact on York’s productivity. Shortly after implementing the changes, York saw a 20 percent reduction in labor hours per casket in the post-finish area. Defects were reduced by 48%. Production response time in the post-finish area was reduced dramatically, from three hours to one hour. In turn, the value added ratio increased from 19 percent to 50 percent.