Detail: SIFCO Forge Group, a division of SIFCO Industries Inc., is a worldwide supplier of important components found in most aircraft. The company specializes in forging special alloys and producing complex geometric components for the commercial and defense aviation industries, as well as the power generation, marine and high technology commercial markets. SIFCO Forge is based in Cleveland and counts among its clients Rolls Royce, Bell Helicopter and Goodrich Landing Gear.
Growth Challenge: SIFCO Industries COO James P. Woidke joined SIFCO Forge as general manager of its Aerospace Component Manufacturing Group in 2006, when he discovered that the Forge Group’s average product throughput time—from cut to ship—was eight to 12 weeks. A drastic change in productivity beyond the typical Lean program was needed, but rather a program that management and hourly associates could build together—something that would have a wider scope, a longer timeline and a bigger ROI than a typical one-off lean project.
How We Worked With Them: MAGNET’s senior consultants worked with SIFCO Forge in 2007 on establishing turnaround and lead time goals and a specific plan to achieve them. Central to this plan was the SIFCO SMART, or “Streamlined Manufacturing Activities to Reduce Time and Cost,” Program. All of SIFCO’s associates became invested in this initiative as they participated in kaizen events and training with MAGNET professionals and SIFCO managers, while a Manager of Enterprise Improvement was hired to maintain the SMART Program.
Outcome: SIFCO Forge excelled past their goals, with an average turnaround of three days or less, lead times reduced by more than 65% and on-time delivery improved from 60% to 90%. SIFCO Forge continues to hold SMART program events, adding more each year.
Increased sales: $6.5 million
Capital savings: $500,000
Other savings: $1 million
Capital investment: $2.275 million
Jobs retained: 160
Jim Woidke (left) shows MAGNET’s senior consultant, Mike O’Donnell, how the SMART Steering Committee has created information boards around the company lunchroom to track the progress of the SMART initiative.
One of the key improvements from MAGNET’s kick-off SMART training event: This mult-wrapping station was moved from a remote building to directly next to the industrial saw that creates the mults. Here, Gary Tomotchko wraps mults in high-grade stainless steel.
MAGNET’s Mike O’Donnell (left) is impressed by the weekly results chart SIFCO’s Mike Shaffer is explaining. These charts are posted in different locations throughout the plant.
Benny Vazquez, Jr., has a lot more space now that Jim Woidke has convinced him that he doesn’t need 40 enormous wooden crates of inventory standing in his work area. Woidke improved throughput by using SMART to demonstrate to associates that only five crates at a time were enough—and they would never be allowed to run out of product.