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YOU ARE HERE: Weldrite’s Lean Model for Custom Metal Fabrication
Large manufacturing organizations have been achieving productivity improvements for decades using what are commonly know as lean manufacturing techniques. Much less publicized, however, is the extent to which small and medium size firms can deploy lean techniques to optimize their operations.
As a medium sized contract metal fabrication services provider located in San Diego County, California, Weldrite Manufacturing knows first hand how powerful lean principles can be for reducing costs and improving safety, quality and process velocity.
Many US-based metal fabricators, especially small ones, are struggling to reconcile two critical needs that are equally important to their long term prosperity, but often work against one another.
On one hand, they must offer their customers an enormous degree of flexibility and responsiveness, aligning their quality assurance procedures, lead times and manufacturing processes precisely to the needs of their customers. These customers are often large OEM-type organizations who rely heavily upon suppliers to provide engineering and other value added services to ensure conformance to rigorous specifications.
On the other hand, they must remain cost competitive despite inflationary factors influencing many of their key inputs, as well as ever-increasing competition from service providers in low cost labor environments, such as Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.
Thus, Weldrite’s leadership team believes it is of critical importance to relentlessly improve efficiencies in underlying manufacturing and transactional processes. As such, we have adopted a combination of practices, policies and philosophies that stress waste elimination, implementation of pull systems, establishment of standard work processes, and a safety-oriented, collaboration-driven business culture.
Though our overall lean manufacturing approach is based upon the Toyota Production System, as an enterprise focused primarily on supporting high-mix, high-complexity metal fabrication and electro-mechanical systems integration requirements from large OEMs in the energy, defense, high-tech and transportation industries, Weldrite Manufacturing’s lean production model is designed to maximize flexibility while maintaining standard work processes. To accomplish this, Weldrite’s sheet metal fabrication, welding, industrial coatings, and shipping operations have been cellularized, each with standard work and audit procedures, and an enterprise-wide system of scheduling processes, pull signals, visual management tools, and metric-driven reporting manages the flow of work through the plant. Beyond this, we have implemented a management system built around safety, quality, velocity, continuous improvement and rapid feedback to ensure that all aspects of the operation are functioning optimally, all customer requirements are met or exceeded, and opportunities for improvement are acted upon with urgency.
Though Weldrite may not be the largest metal fabricator in the Western US, through aggressive deployment lean manufacturing techniques and uncompromising focus on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction, we intend to be the best.
For more information about our lean manufacturing program, please contact Jeff Glover at 760-743-4041.