Improving Value Stream Productivity for a Hardware Manufacturer

Improving Value Stream Productivity for a Hardware Manufacturer

A leading designer and manufacturer of hardware for industrial and consumer markets faced increased demand for a key component it produces for its aerospace and automotive customers. Long lead times were compromising their ability to deliver and their position in the market. To deliver product on time and in line with their competitors, the manufacturer needed need to reduce lead times by 75% and increase capacity by up to 20%.

Daniel Penn Associates senior consultant Tom Voss began by providing training and awareness sessions to employees working in the targeted production areas. To frame and clarify objectives for the improvement event, training focused on relevant lean and kaizen principles.

After the training sessions, the employee team went to work by mapping the current state production process of the targeted product line. They then went to the shop to map product flow from order entry through manufacturing, quality control and outside vendor (services) to pack and ship. They recorded cycle times, current inventory and work-in-process levels.


From their initial findings and data collection, the employee team completed a current state value stream map. They discovered that the actual lead time was nearly 25% longer than expected, and that cycle times were actually shorter than the engineered standards by almost 20%. They also discovered that supplier lead times for outside processes such as heat treat and coating was shorter than their quoted lead times. Separate, discreet processes were resulting in the work-in-progress buildup that affected the scheduling and resource allocation for each operation. They realized there was plenty of opportunity within the company’s own processes to improve.

The team created a future value stream map and a timed improvement plan to reduce lead times for the product line. Elements included establishing one scheduling point, better aligning resources within the new value stream, reducing travel time between each operation and establishing one cost center.

Project Baseline to Benefits Comparison
With support from DPA’s consultant, the employee team projected that once all six improvement projects are effectively completed, the company should realize a lead time reduction of more than 70%, inventory reductions of 40% and quality improvement of more than 30%. These targets will be achieved through a series of kaizen events conducted by Daniel Penn Associates in conjunction with subject matter experts from the company’s corporate improvement team.

Need fresh perspectives to help your team accelerate your company’s lead time and cycle time reduction goals? Give us a shout at 860.232.8577 or

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