The U.S. Department of Energy provides FREE energy assessment to small and medium sized manufacturers through a network of twenty-four Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC), located at universities throughout the country. The Bradley IAC, which is the only center in the state of Illinois, has been performing these assessments since 1993.
Archives for the ‘Lean Manufacturing’ Category
IMEC, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), and DuPage County have partnered to provide fully funded E3 technical assistance to DuPage facilities.
Economy, Energy, Environment (E3) ensures that a company’s environmental resources and 3M resources – Manpower, Machine, and Money – are utilized as effectively as possible, to increase waste reduction.
In a time when e-mail addresses and websites change more frequently than my daughter changes dresses, and customer needs are no more stable than the Silly Bandz fad, manufacturers are seeing a greater need to add agility to their core competencies. Allegra Marketing Print Signs, one of the seven companies who participated in Evanston’s Manufacturing Day Walking Tour Event, demonstrated their agility to the local community during the event itself. Students from Evanston-area high schools submitted their designs for a Manufacturing Day banner to Kyle Kurz, co-owner of Allegra, just after the event kick-off at 11:00. By 1:30, when the tour group reached Allegra’s facility, the pre-press team at Allegra had completed the banner design, incorporating the student’s ideas and verbiage. By 3:30 when the walking tour had wrapped up its final stop, the banner was printed and in the hands of the students for a photo op.
Companies in Illinois and across the country are continuing to face a shortage of workers that are properly educated and trained for the variety of manufacturing employment opportunities. Most manufacturers report a lack of skilled labor as critical challenge today.
Manufacturers use on-the-job training programs to re-focus their workforce on the desired manufacturing talents needed. A recent article in USA Today titled, “Training Cutbacks Thwart Jobless” discussed the fact that companies are cutting outside training programs for lack of funds, ultimately making the skills gap even worse. However, it is important to note that affordable training programs are still available.
Going Beyond Lean: IMEC Partners with Founder of QRM Strategy to Assist Manufacturers of Low-Volume and Customized Products
Manufacturing companies increasingly face two challenges. On the one hand, there is pressure to reduce costs because of competition from low-wage countries. And on the other hand, customers are reducing order sizes and increasing the variety of the parts that they order, even including more custom (non-repeating) parts. So how do you deal with low-volume, high-variety production while at the same time reducing your costs? The answer is a strategy called Quick Response Manufacturing, or QRM.
The Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC) is launching a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training series on June 8th in southern Illinois for small and mid-sized manufacturers to learn how to integrate concepts of Lean and Six Sigma to increase productivity and ultimately, boost quality in their facility. This group training serves as a first step to positioning a company to realize significant savings through the Lean Six Sigma effort, providing short term payback and ongoing savings as processes are continuously improved.
The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt candidates will undergo eight days of intensive training, over an 8-week period. The training will be conducted one day each week at John A. Logan College in Carterville, in partnership with JALC’s engineering department and continuing education. Prior to the series start, candidates will meet with the Black Belt trainer to discuss their specific objectives of the course and establish the potential project for initiation throughout the series. Courses to be led by Jim Pape, IMEC Quality Professional and Six Sigma Black Belt with more than 30 years of manufacturing and quality service experience.
For more information, or to register, visit www.imec.org/events.cfm or contact Amy Fitzgerald, IMEC Marketing Manager, at 309-677-2977 or email@example.com.
IMEC was established in 1996 with the goal of improving the productivity and competitiveness of Illinois’ small and mid-sized manufacturing firms. A non-profit economic development organization, IMEC is funded in part by the National Institute of Standards and Technology/ Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and through fees paid by Illinois manufacturers for IMEC’s services. IMEC has 13 offices statewide and 35 full-time manufacturing improvement specialists.
Sycamore, Illinois – manufacturer of press-fit metal fastening and joining components for the automotive industry, industrial, medical, department of defense and other sectors http://www.driv-lok.com
Driv-Lok is in an intensely competitive sector, where customers demand certain levels of efficiency. The company had experienced growth in sales to automotive manufacturers, doubling volume on some key parts. The production increases posed some challenges in the company’s sorting and packaging department, the final step to ensure non-defective products are released. An assessment revealed that long machine set-up times were causing some delays in shipment.
Ameren’s ActOnEnergy® helps manufacturers use less…save more
The Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy® program offers a variety of cash incentives and resources to help your manufacturing business invest in smart energy solutions. Manufacturing operations are among the most energy-intensive businesses, so there’s great potential to improve efficiency. Energy-efficient upgrades can lower your energy bills and maintenance costs by thousands of dollars each year. No matter the size of your business, we’re focused on helping you save more and boost your bottom line.
Cash incentives are available for a variety of manufacturing and industrial facility projects, including:
- No-cost/low-cost energy efficiency improvements
- Compressed air leak survey and repair
- Steam trap survey and replacement
- Variable frequency drive (VFD) installs
- Lighting upgrades
- HVAC and water heater replacements
- Custom projects
For more information or to get started, visit ActOnEnergy.com/Business or call 1.866.800.0747
Real Customers – Real Results
- Continental Tire in Mount Vernon received over $235,000 in cash incentives to repair compressed air leaks in their facility – they now save $200,000 annually on their energy bills!
- With the help of more than $40,000 in cash incentives, a central Illinois manufacturer installed VFDs on three pump motors and lowered their annual energy bills by $65,000!
- A small manufacturing company in west-central Illinois used over $2,000 in cash incentives to replace three boilers – saving them more than $1,000 per year!
Want more Real Results? Download case studies at ActOnEnergy.com/RealResults.
IMEC is teaming up with Selsius Corporate and Career Training, the business and industry center for Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC), to put on a Lean Manufacturing Series. By experiencing the six course simulations in the Lean Manufacturing Series, participants will have the knowledge, tools and application examples required to begin a lean transformation. Attending companies will also receive a free on-site Lean Assessment.
When: May 4, 11, and 18 and June 1, 8, and 15 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Where: SWIC’s Sam Wolf Granite City Campus
Deadline: April 30
Courses included in this series:
• Lean Manufacturing Overview with Simulation
• Lean Leadership/Change Management
• Value Stream Mapping and 5S/Workplace Organization
• Quick Changeover
• Cellular/Flow Manufacturing
• Pull/Kanban Systems and Total Productive Maintenance.
For more information, go to the www.selsiustraining.com
Ideas about how to get the most out of your Lean tools
These days, we are overloaded with information about Lean — what it is and what Lean tools do. Despite that, it’s difficult to find truly practical information on how to execute Lean Transformation and lead real change. Every company’s Lean journey starts under a different situation, so there can be no single prescription. One size does not fit all. But, to sustain improvements and ensure success, there are many factors to consider before launching your Lean journey.
Many people know about Lean but aren’t doing anything with that knowledge. They don’t know where to begin or see too many obstacles preventing them from making the commitment. Even more discouraging, many companies that do implement Lean don’t consider their efforts to be a great success. So, why is it that such a small percentage of firms that know about Lean convert it into a success? The leadership, cultural, organizational and implementation hurdles are much greater than they expected.
Here are some helpful tips for your Lean Journey (in part from lessons learned along the way from those who have been there) to help you on the road ahead: