Process Is King Honeywell's Warren, Ill., switch plant uses statistical process control to reach exceptional quality and productivity milestones. ByTonya Vinas Honeywell Control Products, Warren, Ill. At a Glance
Web-Exclusive Best PracticesByTonya Vinas Benchmarking contact: Karl Kastning, operations manager, [email protected], 815/235-3421 Responding To Customers If in a six-month period the plant has had more than two non-conformances (customer rejects), whether internal or external from a supplier, permanent, corrective action is required. An online form is used. "When you put it (the information) in, it triggers automatic follow ups," says Cynthia M. Knautz, manufacturing engineering & logistics manager for Warren and two other Honeywell sites. "There are emails being sent. It just can't be lost. It has to closed out and corrected to our satisfaction." Continuous Improvement Warren's Continuous Improvement (CI) Program allows employees to make suggestions or point out problems related to the plant's goals. The feedback is collected and documented by CI team members, who are mandated to follow-up and take action on the feedback. All production employees rotate for four-month stints on the CI teams. The benefits have been cost-saving improvements to processes and increased motivation. "The employees see there is a real benefit to this," says Jill Heim, a production shift leader. Project Roadmaps This is a documentation method used for all projects at the plant, whether related to safety, lean or another area. The roadmap includes a start date, finish date, capital expenditures required, Six Sigma connection and the "owner" of the project. The roadmaps are reviewed each month. "This is how our resources are allocated and it gives us an idea if one person is overloaded," says Cynthia M. Knautz, manufacturing engineering & logistics manager for Warren and two other Honeywell sites. "Also, it gives us a tool for those times when someone asks, 'What are you doing?' "
- Plant size: 24,200 square feet
- Start-up date: 1977
- Special Achievements
- Received this mention from Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric Co. and a one-time visitor, in his book Jack, Straight From the Gut (2001, Warner Business Books): "Frankly, I was blown away. I'd never seen a plant operating with that kind of efficiency."
- The plant has been averaging annual cost reductions of $700,000 via continuous improvements (e.g., increased automation, reduction in inventories, etc.)
- A 3 ppm customer reject rate in 2001; nine months of that year operating at 0 ppm.
- An increase in annual units per employee of 69% from 1997-2001.
- Increased productivity (number of units per employees) of 21% in 2001 over 2000, despite a 24% drop-off in total units produced. Year-to-date for 2002, productivity is up 22%, with a 12% decline in total units.
- A reduction in inventories of 42% since 2000.