Location: Schofield, WI
Years in Business: Founded in 1966
No. of Employees: 115
Products: Electrical wire harnesses, battery cables, and instrument panel assemblies
NWMOC Projects: Enterprise Business Transformation Planning Process, Value Stream Mapping, Plant Layout, Cellular Design
Schofield Enterprises was facing increasing customer pressure to reduce lead times and costs. Their manufacturing strategies that were successful in the past could not deliver what was needed in today's rapidly changing, competitive world. They also needed to reduce the lead time of quotes.
NWMOC Project Managers Brad Nasset and Bill Amsrud met with the leadership team at Schofield Enterprises to conduct a business assessment and then recommend a course of action. They began by working with the leadership team to create a vision of what their future should - and could - look like. They analyzed their business, defined three key goals, and defined the strategies necessary to achieve them. This pulled the team together with a unified focus on what they needed to do. They overcame their desire to "just get going and do something in production," and their planning efforts paid off.
One of their goals was to involve everyone. This turned out to be the cornerstone that made achieving the other goals possible. Everyone in the company went through a one-day workshop where the business challenges were presented, and the goals and vision of the future were shared with everyone. The rest of that day was spent with a hands-on lean simulation where everyone could actually experience the possibilities of lean changes and define their own future together. After these workshops, the leadership team was almost in disbelief as to the number of employees who stepped up and wanted to be involved as well as the high quality of their ideas.
The first project on the shop floor resulted in substantial reductions in lead time and improved productivity. A second work cell was designed that reduced waste and produced results within two days. Greg Cybula, VP of Engineering commented "[NWMOC] did a good job of helping us organize team involvement between production employees and management." Joe Soley, HR, said "We are producing more without hiring more people." NWMOC also worked with the engineering team to improve work flow and get quotes returned faster. Nikki Deland, CFO, added "I wish we would've done it sooner!"
The development of multi-skilled people has become a big part of their culture. Their employees are much more involved than ever before, and work teams are continually analyzing and improving processes. Tami Holmes, Customer Service Manager says, "We now know the meaning of Lean!"
“ This has given us a nice edge. When I visit customers and mention that we employ Lean Manufacturing techniques, their eyes light up. We have not missed a ship date since implementing Lean; it will be a major part of our future. ”
~ Shawn Feirn, VP