Mapping Manufacturing Remarkable results at Medtronic's medical-devices plant flow from value-stream mapping. ByJohn S. McClenahen Medtronic Inc., Xomed, Jacksonville, Fla. At a Glance
Web-Exclusive Best PracticesByJohn S. McClenahen Benchmarking contact: Jon Swanson, director of manufacturing,
[email protected], 904/279-2624
On The 'Net Medtronic Inc.'s Jacksonville, Fla., Xomed division plant uses Internet/Web-based technology primarily for employee support. Employees have access to myMedtronic, which provides online access to information, among other things, about pay, benefits and available jobs. "You can change your 401(k), employee stock purchase plan and your benefits enrollment stuff on-line," notes Jon Swanson, the plant's director of manufacturing. "There's a managers' self-service [section] where we can do promotions, pay changes, merit increases, separations-those kinds of things," he adds. "There's a contract labor section, so we can approve and hire temps." Another section allows value-stream managers to retrieve data on the last three years' fill rates. Still another section lists current training offerings. There's a people section that shows where a person is located in Medtronic and to whom they report.
Power To The People Jon Swanson, director of manufacturing at Medtronic Inc's Jacksonville, Fla. Xomed division plant, characterizes creation of the Daily Work Order Requirements Report as the "biggest thing " the facility has done to empower employees. Itself a product of the plant's value stream mapping process, the report allows production employees to plan all production based on the pull signal from customers. The report allows the production employees to see what products are on-the-shelf, what products are in the sterilizer, what orders are due. "They look at that [report] every single morning and figure out what needs to be made on the line," says Swanson. "They are now in control of what they make, when they make it, an how they make it." The employees determine what the sequence in which the products will be produced, put together the value stream teams, and ensure that only the equipment needed to manufacture each product is on the line, a step mandated by federal Food & Drug Administration regulations. The employees have immediate feedback on whether they are behind or ahead of orders and whether they need to schedule overtime. "If a part goes out, they know immediately if that's going to be a problem or not, and they can reassign people," adds Swanson.
Means To Lean Shortly after the Jacksonville, Fla. Plant of Medtronic Inc.'s Xomed division got serious about implementing lean manufacturing in 2000, Rick Kundert was hired as training manager. Described as "awesome" by director of manufacturing Jon Swanson, Kundert developed a series of lean learning modules. "We sent every operations employee, every plant employee including production employees, through them," says Swanson. "We talked 5Ss, pull, flow, and basic communications things." Training was reinforced by placing posters with lean slogans around the plant. There was a division-wide contest to develop a lean slogan Employees received small, foam models of "lean brains" to encourage them to think lean. (Swanson's is on his desk, near his computer). Even the outdoor walkway between that contacts the plant's distribution center to the main manufacturing building carries such lean reminders. The walkway, known as "Lean Way" takes a bend at "Kaizen Corner." Each of the pillars supporting the open-air walkway carries a lean term, and at either end of the walkway there's a lean glossary.
- Plant size: 52,000 square feet
- Start-up date: 1982; acquired by Medtronic Inc. in 1999.
- Special Achievements
- Total production leadtime, including the leadtime of suppliers, has been cut to 129 days from 253 days during the last three years.
- Productivity, as measured by annual sales per employee, has increased 40% during the last three years.