What is Lean Manufacturing or TPS?
Toyota Production Systems, or TPS for short, is a system designed to provide the tools for people to improve their work environment continually. The Toyota Production System was started by Taiichi Ohno, an engineer for Toyota, in 1949. He developed “7 Wastes of Operations”; later, in 1990, two Americans published the book “The Machine That Changed The World.” This book coined the phrase for Lean Manufacturing for TPS, creating an interchangeable term for TPS/Lean Manufacturing.
Charles (Chuck) Sudwischer, Vice President of Operations at Alliance Steel, LLC, has started implementing the Toyota Production System. Chuck has spent his entire career in the steel industry, got his start in Southwest Ohio, working for a privately owned service center. His first job was at the end of a packaging line, banding steel coils to skids. From there, he learned to operate a slitter while eventually working his way up to leadership positions. Chuck’s Lean experience started in 2007. In 2013 he obtained his Green Belt certification and then his Black Belt certification in 2015 from Purdue University.
There are 14 principles associated with TPS, all of which are interdependent upon each other for success. The primary goal is to bring life to TPS by working, communicating, resolving issues, and growing together. Alliance Steel is currently in the foundational stage of implementing TPS. This comprises the 5 S’s: Total Productive Maintenance, Standard Work, and Visual Management.
“Chuck, how long until TPS is completed?”
“5S implementation (foundation) we are close to finishing. Total Productive Maintenance implementation (foundation) has been started and targeting the end of the year for completion. Implementation is typically achieved in 3-4 years. At that point, sustainment of the system becomes the challenge which is even more difficult than implementation”, Chuck states.
In the middle of the plant floor, the team has created an efficiency center for TPS. The efficiency center is divided into six accountability teams that consist of daily checklists and monthly audits and then scored overall.
“How does TPS directly benefit Alliance Steel’s customers”?
“Our valued customers have two primary needs, the first one being On-Time Delivery, and the second one being Quality Material Done Right the First Time, says Chuck. TPS aligns perfectly with those needs by creating flow and building in quality”.
Alliance Steel has been creating dependable steel supply solutions for decades and believes in having a supply chain partner you can rely on. Their business philosophy is founded on six pillars of success: System and technologies, expanding capacities, partnerships, creativity, quality, and doing the right thing.
“You have been here for a little over a year; what have you accomplished in this time frame that you are most proud of”?
“There’s an old saying that days are long, and years are short. It is hard to believe a year has gone by. What I am most proud of is the professional growth I see in individual team members and our team collectively. Inspired team members with a shared purpose always take care of the customer, and satisfied customers are more likely to select Alliance Steel as their “Supplier of Choice.”
Additionally, Chuck and his team are experiencing Year over Year improvements in Cycle Time Mean (CTM) reductions across all processing lines. Alliance Steel has two slitting lines with .010” - .500” capabilities, .015”-.135” multi-blanking and cut to length line, .040”-.375” x 75” stretcher leveler, along with laser part fabrication. “We are just getting started establishing TPS. However, the key performance indicators (KPI) show we are moving in the right direction.”