Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) has launched an initiative in central Georgia to help smaller manufacturers implement lean principles, a set of tools widely used in manufacturing to help identify and steadily eliminate waste from an organization’s operations. So far, four manufacturers, a hospital and a non-profit charitable organization are enrolled in the Group Lean Implementation Project, also known as GLIP.
“GLIP is a good way for smaller organizations to pool their resources and learn from each other,” said Paul Todd, a lean specialist with EI2. “Manufacturers and non-manufacturers alike can learn how to eliminate non-value added activities and at the same time find out what works for them in their continuous improvement process.”
The following organizations are participating in GLIP:
- Advanced Metal Components in Swainsboro,
- Duramatic in Glennville,
- Easter Seals of Middle Georgia in Dublin,
- Hollingsworth & Vose in Hawkinsville,
- Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia and
- SP Newsprint in Dublin.
As part of the new initiative, EI2 lean specialists Todd and Danny Duggar have led lean overviews, assessed where each organization is in its lean journey, and developed value stream maps, which are diagrams used to analyze the flow of materials and information required to bring a product or service to a consumer.
As part of GLIP, group members rotate hosting events at their facilities, working on specific projects and discussing challenges and successes to date. Already, the team has conducted projects in single-minute exchange of die (SMED) techniques, which shorten the changeover time to reduce production lot sizes and improve flow. The team also applied 5S – a method for organizing the workplace – that stands for sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing and sustaining.
Not only do participating companies benefit from the lean implementations, but they can also take advantage of the Georgia Retraining Tax Credit, in which a company’s direct investment in training can be claimed as a tax credit. Training programs must be approved by the Technical College System of Georgia, and the tax credit can be used to offset up to 50 percent of a company’s state corporate income tax liability. To be eligible, the retraining program must be for quality and productivity enhancements or certain software technologies.
“By utilizing Georgia Tech assistance, we get ideas from professionals who are very well trained and adept in what they’re doing. The other group members bring fresh ideas from organizations with different cultures, backgrounds and types of work that we can take and apply to our companies,” said Daniel Smith, industrial engineering manager for Duramatic Products. “It gives all of us a chance to get out of our comfort zones and see how other companies manufacture so we can use it as a benchmark to improve what we do.”
About Enterprise Innovation Institute:
The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.
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Writer: Nancy Fullbright