2006-2007: In collaboration with Kollmorgen Electro-Optical, this student team developed strategies to implement Lean principles within Kollmorgen’s design process. Lean Design and Lean Manufacturing are two increasingly common methodologies to improve speed and efficiency of engineering design and production by increasing output and minimizing waste of all forms throughout all operations. Kollmorgen had successfully implemented Lean principles in its manufacturing area and sought to extend the success to other business areas.
To understand Kollmorgen’s design process and current practices, the team analyzed the company’s Standard Work Instructions, conducted internal surveys and focus groups with employees, and shadowed employees in daily operations. Externally, the team learned about Lean principles and collected best practices used elsewhere. The team prepared three main deliverables to assist the company apply Lean to the design process: a Best Practices Document with 40 specific ideas tailored for Kollmorgen, a Visual Management Binder displaying current visuals with commentary and 10 suggested new visuals, and a Training Module to facilitate the transition between suggestions and implementation.
Through continuous interaction with Kollmorgen employees, the team obtained feedback on many of their Lean suggestions and modified their ideas to incorporate employee ideas and company culture. Kollmorgen implemented some of the team’s suggestions immediately and considered others for piloting and ultimate implementation.