FRANKLIN IND. GOES LEAN

Here at Franklin Ind., we no longer embrace the status quo. We are building a new culture around innovation, teamwork, and constant improvement with the principles of Lean Manufacturing. We started by simply sweeping the floor and grew into a culture that smashed seven long-standing records in just one, our 116th year.

With lessons learned, we knew that more collaboration was necessary. First, we invited every employee to our weekly safety & production meeting; which previously excluded all but high-level managers. Then, we renovated and modernized the front office building so that the main conference room would allow us all to gather.

This inspired our Mill Manager to make some changes too. He set a plan for light remodeling and created a tidy-ness checklist that he kept on a bulletin board. Over time, other things were added to the bulletin board. They kept track of quality, days without injury, outstanding effort, and production numbers.

This, in turn, led to the introduction of the Golden Dustpan Award. The department with the best housekeeping won prizes including free lunch and a mention in the company newsletter.

Then, A funny thing started happening with the bulletin boards. Once the crew could see a number on the board every day, they wanted to improve it. The Mill then broke a record.

After the Mill Crew started bragging about their wins, the other departments followed suit. A friendly competition began and all the other departments started adding bulletin boards.

Within the next year, seven long-standing records were broken.

All of this can be boiled down into a few simple lessons:

  • Lead by example
  • Have pride in doing your part
  • Know that no improvement is too small to count for something