The W.P. Hickman Co., Asheville, N.C., is partnering with the Industrial Extension Service of N.C. State University to implement a manufacturing system known as Lean throughout its operations. The Lean process is based on the Toyota Production System, a manufacturing system designed to improve productivity and lead times, and reduce costs.
“Lean is a methodology for eliminating waste, reducing inventory, compressing cycle time, and doing more with less,” explained Cheryl Smith, Hickman’s process control coordinator. “The whole process focuses on the customer, on what adds value to our products from the customer’s perspective.”
The goal of this process is to provide the customer with the lowest cost, best quality and fastest delivery. Hickman and N.C. State began working together last fall, and recently agreed on a year-long program that will incorporate the process through every aspect of W.P. Hickman’s manufacturing and office areas.