Ansen Corp commits to Lean culture

What happens when the commitment comes from leaders?

Ansen Corp in Ogdensburg designs, builds and tests printed circuit boards. They work in all different fields including medical, sports, aerospace, communications, alternative energy, and a lot more. They built the light circuit boards used for Super Bow LII in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. They are working on a circuit board that can go inside helmets to determine if a hit has caused a concussion.


In order to develop a sustained growth pattern, Ansen realized a need to develop a continuous improvement culture in their organization. They decided to start by involving the whole leadership team, and then rolled out a Lean White Belt program with several cell heads on the production floor.


Eight company executives including the Vice President & General Manager, the Director of Operations, the Quality Director and more dedicated their Fridays to learning, understanding, and adopting continuous improvement ideas and practices into their workflow and the culture of the company. They learned the basics; visual controls, the gemba walk, value stream mapping. They learned about leadership, communication, managing change, dealing with resistance. And they learned about sustaining a program and gains made.


Then they took these ideas to the floor. Seven supervisors went through a Lean White Belt training and implementation program. Because the program was right there on site, the class was able to take their learning, questions, and examples from the classroom right to the floor, and back again, to deepen their understanding, try out potential solutions and rework them throughout the training period. The results in one area alone (the test area) included 1750 sq. ft. saved, they replaced 14 stationery tables with eight tables and three mobile stations, the technicians became mobile with a central work area, and used 50 percent less test area space.


Similar gains were made in other areas of the company as the team learned about value stream, cell shapes, poka yokes, and other conepts that eliminate waste and error. These concepts will continue to guide production at Ansen, increasing efficiency and saving money. The project was completed in May 2018 and we eagerly anticipate calculating time savings and financial impacts over time.


"This is just the beginning," says Itsa Budlong, Quality Director. "We intend to keep the momentum going so we can generate these savings across the company."


Contact Steve Lockwood for more information.




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