The Value of Lean: Good for Business; Good for the World
Just a few decades ago, "lean" operating practices often meant simply reducing production materials waste. Today, some companies are still working with this outdated model.
While zero waste is one of Metcam's main goals, our efforts extend beyond the shop floor to every facet of our operations.
Adhering to the principles pioneered by Japanese businessman Taiichi Ohno, who is considered the father of lean manufacturing, we believe that anything that doesn't add value is waste. However, we go beyond the tradition of adding value "for the customer." Organizations can realize value through lean activities in many ways, and we take pride in exploring them all.
Reducing Effort; Saving Water
Through our Kaizen initiatives, for example, we have reorganized our tool center, not only saving thousands of dollars in unnecessary tool purchases but also reducing worker search time. We have also reconfigured assembly lines to eliminate miles of worker steps. These reductions not only streamline the manufacturing process and trim costs; they also reduce fatigue in our workers, making them more productive, healthier and happier.
We continuously seek ways to reduce waste in other areas, as well, such as implementing a water filtration system that extends the life of water baths and reduces water usage and waste water. In doing so, we reduce costs, minimize our environmental footprint, and show ourselves to be responsible corporate citizens.
Where Lean Meets Sustainable
Our lean activities also play an important role in adding "value" for the community, the earth and its citizens—preserving our precious natural resources and improving quality of life for everyone. Following a "sustainable manufacturing" model, Metcam is committed to using processes that are non-polluting, that conserve energy and natural resources, and that are economically sound and safe for employees, communities and consumers.
To formalize our commitment to lean and sustainable practices, Metcam adopted a written environmental policy that is supported at all levels of the company:
"Metcam is dedicated to sound environmental stewardship through sustainable practices, continuous improvement, regulatory compliance, pollution prevention, continuous review and public transparency."
From zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint to high-efficiency lighting; No Idle zones at our docks to the use of returnable/reusable packaging for our products; our lean, sustainable initiatives extend to every corner of the operation. In doing so, we realize the greatest "value" of all—the sense of pride that comes from making a difference.