Lean Manufacturing

Jordan Manufacturing Company Uses TAAF To Achieve Unprecedented Growth

“Jordan Manufacturing’s growth has been beyond exceptional. Thanks in part to support from the GLTAAC, we more than doubled our sales last year and were formally recognized by our two largest customers for outstanding quality and delivery performance.”  Justin Johnson, President, Jordan Manufacturing

Background

Jordan Manufacturing Company (Belding, MI) is a contract manufacturer of component parts and sub-assemblies serving a variety of customers and markets. They are passionate about the high quality of their products. But in 2021, as the economy began to pick up, the company became swamped with more business than it could handle.  Jordan Manufacturing quickly found it could no longer do “business as usual” and hope to maintain its previous levels of performance.  Increasing late shipments and upset customers meant something needed to change.

Fortunately, Jordan Manufacturing had become a GLTAAC client in late 2020, so they were able to use the TAAF program to address this problem as soon as it arose.  In the early spring of 2021, the company started a lean manufacturing project through the program, using their regional MEP center (The Right Place) to lead the effort.

ApproachThe 8 Wastes of Lean

Jordan Manufacturing had no experience with lean before, so it had to start with the basics.

Lean manufacturing is a disciplined process that seeks to drive out waste from 8 specific areas.  Each of these areas can generate activities that are non-value added in the eyes of the customer.  By attacking each waste systematically, costs are reduced, lead times are shortened, and defects are eliminated. This enables manufacturers to provide their customers with on-time, defect-free shipments.

The first part of Jordan Manufacturing’s lean project was to develop a Value Stream Map (VSM).  This involved documenting their existing processes, identifying (or tagging) sources of waste in each process, then exploring potential changes (or improvements) to eliminate the wastes.

Employee involvement was key to this value stream mapping, as was a focused brainstorming technique facilitated by the consultant.

Preparing a VSM was critical for the project. By visually mapping the process, everyone could now “see” areas that were ripe for improvement. This increased understanding helped motivate everybody to get the job done.

Value Stream Map

VSM – The existing process

VSM - Existing process with tagged areas of waste

VSM – Existing process with tagged areas of waste

Value Stream Map with tagged areas of waste and improvement ideas

VSM – Existing process with tagged areas of waste and improvement ideas

The second half of the project involved prioritizing and executing events to implement some of the needed changes.

The improvements extended beyond the shop floor.  For example, data inadequacies uncovered in the VSM process prompted targeted system upgrades.  And training for workers increased the usage and effectiveness of the company’s ERP.

Results

Jordan Manufacturing completed this project in December 2021.  The results were nothing short of extraordinary, as their increased capacity enabled the company to take on enough new business to grow sales by 232% in 2021.  More specific results included –

  • Significant improvements in throughput and cycle times, which increased productivity by 53%.
  • On-time delivery, which had fallen to 74% just before the project, rebounded to 95%.
  • Improved employee engagement strengthened the company’s culture.  And increased worker collaboration across the firm gave the management team more time to focus on strategy, instead of the day-to-day operations.

Jordan Manufacturing also earned two outstanding supplier awards from its largest customer. Paraphrasing that customer’s words:

“Jordan Manufacturing is our only supplier doing all of the right things!”

According to Kevin Rucinski, the GLTAAC Senior Project Manager who worked with the company: “The application of lean manufacturing principles has changed the future for Jordan. In spite of the phenomenal growth, the company is calmer and feels in charge of their business rather than a victim of the business. Revenue in the first four months of 2022 already approached Jordan’s best year prior to 2021. The future for Jordan Manufacturing has never been brighter.”

And from Justin Johnson, Jordan Manufacturing’s President:

“GLTAAC was instrumental in helping us create a new future for our company. Providing financial support to implement projects was half of the story.  Equally important was their strategic and consulting assistance.  When the pandemic upended our business the GLTAAC team worked closely with us to ensure our projects aligned with the rapidly changing needs of the business.”

 

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