Herman Miller, Inc. Case Study
"We were considering moving production outside the U.S. to reduce cost, but because of the improvements that had already been made through TPS, it was actually more cost-effective to keep the jobs in Michigan," said Matt Long, vice president of continuous improvement for Herman Miller
Dramatic improvements needed to be made on the production line of the pedestal cabinet. At the time, two assembly lines with 126 workers were running on three shifts. With a 10-day lead-time and orders that were batched/held for production by volume, this was no easy turnaround. Also, it took nearly 24 hours to change the line over from one product to another. That meant down time that was costing the company money and efficiency.
The company completely rethought its operation, creating a “pull system” that replaced expensive inventories with just-in-time deliveries. The continuous flow of product and standardized work that was implemented also helped improve quality.
Long said that at one point, the company considered moving its Aeron Chair production to Mexico to reduce cost, but instead was able to use its TPS know-how to improve the operation and keep the jobs in the U.S. “As it turns out, it was actually more cost-effective to keep the jobs in Michigan,” he said.
To learn more please visit www.hermanmiller.com.
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