Success Story - PLIDCO

Pipe Line Development Company (PLIDCO) needed to bring 85 employees up to speed on Lean concepts in a hurry, without impacting production. Here’s how they did it.

In 2007, to support a major, multi-year Lean initiative, Pipe Line Development Company (known as PLIDCO), instituted an online training initiative to bring all its 85 employees up-to-speed on basic Lean concepts.

“The newer employees had no problem at all with the new online training module,” says Mary Smith, PLIDCO’s Safety Training director. “Some of the people that have been here 30 years were sort of wondering why they needed this. But once they saw that management was serious and we were going to get the job done, they did warm up to it.”

PLIDCO, based in Westlake, Ohio, is a family-owned company founded in 1949. Smith says, thanks to getting everyone up-to-speed with the online training module, the various teams quickly got to work. The employees began by identifying waste of all kinds and thoroughly cleaning and reorganizing their workplaces.

“Eventually, they even came up with a way to change the way they store tools,” says Smith, noting that it took some time for employees to accept that level of change. “Our employees always used to store their tools in cabinets, where it could take some time to find them. Now, all the tools are hanging right out where they can see and reach them.”

Smith says that, as a result of the online training, in combination with a MAGNET Lean 101 on-site training course, the company has just about doubled production since 2006 and now generates $1 million in sales a month.

“We always felt if we could make more we could sell more, and that’s the been the case,” says Smith.

After the initial MAGNET training, PLIDCO’s owner decided to make a further investment by hiring a Lean manufacturing consultant to work with the company’s continuous improvement teams once a month.

“We have regularly scheduled early-morning LEAN team meetings to keep the initiative going,” Smith says. “I can see that if we didn’t have the team leaders out there listening and pushing forward, it would all slow down.”

Smith observes that because PLIDCO’s top management was 100% committed to this LEAN initiative, and employees saw that it yielded real results, the on-the-floor teams are coming up with new ideas.

“Things keep changing and change takes the path of least resistance. So we know we have to keep the change going in the right direction. There’s still a lot more we can do to improve,” Smith says.