Behlen Mfg. Co.


Recently the NAM published an article that outlined four goals – I found the first one to be very interesting. It says that the United States will be the best place in the world to manufacture product. And as a manufacturer located in the heart of the country I would have to agree.

Last month, I said that we would discuss lowering costs through operating efficiencies as that was the #2 way (93.1%) of you thought your company could maintain a profit margin.

So let’s take a look at that concept:

I am sure that if you had a nickel for every time that you heard “Lean” you wouldn’t be working but reading this from some warm beach somewhere – but the reality is that it is one of the keys to increase your operating efficiencies. Remember that Lean is more of a cultural event than a process. I am sure that you are well aware that as you embrace lean concepts you move to cost reductions and continuous improvements – but the comment was made that cost reduction is a goal and continuous improvement is on-going. How true that is. We all look to cost reduction first as that is where the lowest hanging fruit is, you know the drill – cut back on shop rags, have the steel supplier delivery daily as your needs require etc. But what you are really after is how do you create more value for less?

Here are some basic tools to make that happen:

  •  VSM
  •  5S
  •  8Muda
  •  5-Why
  •  Kaizen

As you look at Value Stream Mapping (VSM) your process you would be surprised at how many miles a part may travel. This month grab a team and pick a part and map the path – you don’t need anything fancy; a white board will do – but be prepared for what you discover.

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