Plant Engineering Top Plant[1]


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Nacco Materials Handling Group Plant Engineering Top Plant 2011

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Plant Engineering Top Plant[1]

  1. 1. Top Plant 2011 F or the past three years, manufacturing must NACCO manufactures lift trucks for Hyster and have seemed like a high-stakes poker game Yale, and the lift truck business is a good bellwether to some people. It also seems the game for what’s going on in the rest of manufacturing. has been played only two ways—fold, or That business improved as other manufacturing sec- go all in. tors began to perk up, and NACCO’s Berea facility There is a third way to play, of course. increased its workforce by 40% in 2011. It takes a lot more work and a lot more patience, and NACCO did more than just add bodies, however. it won’t always yield positive results on every Understanding that a flexible workforce would play, but it is a surer way to build your allow the company to continue to grow chips. You have to place your bets in and change, it also placed a big bet on the right places, at the right moments. extensive worker training. Manufacturers around the U.S. Co-op and internship programs with and around the world are succeeding Berea College and Eastern Kentucky in manufacturing because they have University give students a chance to placed their bets on the right aspects of see what a career at NACCO can be their business. They cannot control like. That also has helped facilitate what other players have in their growth. hands. They played the cards they are 2 0 11 Rather than just sit back and pro- dealt and seized the opportunity to improve tect the chips it had, NACCO Materials Han- when it came along. dling Group placed its bets on its people, and grew Our 2011 Top Plant winner, NACCO Materials as a result. At a time when some seem reluctant to Handling Group of Berea, Ky., is an outstanding bet on manufacturing, NACCO Materials Handling example of placing your bets in the right place at the Group is a great example of how it can be a winning right time. NACCO bet on its people to help grow strategy. the organization. – Bob Vavra, Content Manager dsfdscvszvdf All photos by Tim Webb Photography , NACCO Materials Handling Group , Berea, Ky.2 • December 2011 plant engineering
  2. 2. Hire and higherBuilding a workforce helps NACCO Materials Handling Group build profits—and world-class lift trucks. By Jack Smith plant engineering December 2011 • 3
  3. 3. TWilliam Miller works on the hood and seat installation for a lift truck at theNACCO Materials Handling group plant in Berea, Ky. W hile some businesses closed their doors during what some economists described as “the worst economic crisis since the Depression,” those that remained faced immense challenges over the past three years. One manufacturer that not only survived the recession but became stronger in the process is NACCO Materials Handling Group Inc.’s (NMHG) Berea, Ky., plant, the 2011 Plant Engineering Top Plant winner. NMHG designs, engineers, manufactures, sells, and services a comprehensive line of lift trucks and aftermarket parts marketed globally under the Hyster and Yale brands. Neil Simpson adds a part to the drive train assembly at NMHG. As “It’s a great honor to win the Top Plant award,” said Tim the economy improved, the company gradually brought back work- ers and expanded training. White, plant manager at NMHG’s Berea plant, who gives the credit to the workforce at the plant. “I would put this workforce up against any workforce, anywhere. We’ve weathered a very shifts to one and experienced multiple workforce reductions, rough storm. We were lockstep with our workforce going through according to White. it. It wasn’t always good news, but we came out of it and we’re But NMHG positioned itself to respond to the stronger because of it and we’re seeing results.” economic rebound. During the sluggish economy, the company John Gardiner, vice president, Americas Manufac- explored its options for the future. “When the recession turing at NACCO Materials Handling Group, hit, we started making plans for the recovery,” White Inc., understands what NMHG can gain from said. looking at where it is and where it needs to go As the economy started to recover, NMHG on its continuous improvement journey. “I saw increasing demand for its products—enough think the Berea team needs to reflect on what demand to justify rebuilding its workforce. The they have achieved and celebrate this mile number of team members at the Berea plant marker and energize themselves for the future,” increased from 502 in 2009 to 722 in 2010—more Gardiner said. than 30%. Although the recession was rough for many Hiring was gradual. “We looked for market manufacturers, NMHG took advantage of the stability,” said White. “We were conservative with opportunity to get set for the recovery. “We used the slow time bringing people on. As we saw stability, we brought people to continue to drive improvement,” said Gardiner. “Those who back to work.” are ready when (the economy) comes back will be the winners.” White estimates that the NMHG facility in Berea has slightly And winners they are. more team members now than before the recession. Within the past year, the plant also resumed second-shift operations. Putting people back to work “We called back some of the people who had worked for us Nearly every manufacturer felt the impact of the recession, previously,” said Steve Lawson, human resources manager at the which forced most companies to make production and workforce Berea plant. “And we got a vast majority of them back—even cuts. The Berea plant reduced its production schedule from two though some were working at other places. Our work culture4 • December 2011 plant engineering
  4. 4. TOP PLANT TOP PLANT TOP PLANT NMHG has its own skilled welders on site. “When people say they work at NMHG, people know this is a good spot to work,” said Tim White, plant manager at NMHG’s Berea, Ky., plant. Christie Gross tightens a part on the 1-3 ton main assembly line. Company officials said they wanted to be prepared for when the economy rebounded. “We had people who would volunteer to go to second shift to help train new people coming in,” Gardiner allows us to be the employer-of-choice in the area. said. “We have changed a lot, and we had to bring We don’t have to seek very hard to get applicants.” those people back up to speed. There were a lot of White agrees. “When people say they work at positives. People who left and came back saw the NMHG, people know this is a good spot to work,” improvements.” he said. “It’s somewhere that you want to be, Training provides job-satisfaction benefits as well. not somewhere that you have to be.” Darnell Hill, one of NMHG’s trainers, has worked at the Berea plant for 34 years. The aspect that Hill likes Employee training gets a lift most about his job is: “I get to interact with people while we In addition to refocusing its staffing approach, NMHG also are training. I get to learn their views on training and learning.” prepared for the economic recovery in other ways—including the launch of eight new product lines. “We implemented a Lowering environmental impact lowers energy costs manufacturing execution system (MES),” said Gardiner. “We NMHG developed an energy committee to discover ways to introduced new products. We have design changes coming lower the company’s environmental footprint. As manufacturing through on our products on a regular basis.” engineering services manager, Wilson leads the energy commit- One of the most significant ways NMHG drove its continuous tee, which is comprised of leadership members from all of the improvement during the downturn is training. “We recognized company’s North American locations, making the team both that if our projections were going to come true, we needed to local and divisional. change the way we train people,” said White. The energy committee’s target when it launched in October NMHG increased training time from 10 hours to 80 hours 2008 was to reduce the company’s utility usage (electric, water, per person, which must be completed before performing natural gas, and landfill) by 10% year over year. NMHG exceeded work in the plant. The new training program was already in its initial goal by reducing its utility usage 12.2% in 2009. But it place when the company began rehiring. “The first people didn’t stop there. In 2010, NMHG beat its 5% target by reducing to come back were previous employees,” White said. “Even usage 8.5%. And in 2011, the company is well above the 5% though they worked here before, they went back through target with an 11% reduction so far. the training.” NMHG discovered that while reducing its environmental In addition to basic employee job requirements, the training impact, the company also reduced its energy costs. “When the emphasizes safety, quality, delivery, cost, morale, and environ- energy committee started the audit program, we targeted some ment. “We ensure that all production employees are capable of of the low-hanging fruit,” said Wilson. “We looked at simple performing their assigned jobs,” said Rodney Wilson, engineer- ways to reduce energy usage such as turning off lights, monitors, ing services manager at NMHG. “We start the training with a fans, welding machines, and other types of equipment that could qualified peer and then have their work reviewed by a certified be turned off when not in use.” trainer from the human resources department.” Depending on the specific industry, air compressors can account plant engineering December 2011 • 5
  5. 5. TOP PLANT TOP PLANTT TOP PLANT Workers in the paint area see a lot of the iconic yellow paint of the Hyster and Yale lift trucks manufactured at NMHG. through both failures and successes. In fact, the lighting that we’re changing out now is a result of the summit.” The Berea plant has made other significant achievements in reducing its environmental footprint, including: n Standardizing and monitoring office temperatures at 68 F during the winter and 74 F during the summer n Working with its electrical energy provider to develop a better understanding of peak electricity usage in order to appropriately Ralph Arvin works on the hood assembly at NMHG. Beyond its schedule load shedding hiring and training success, NMHG also has made energy and n Implementing a recycling program across environmental issues a core competency at the plant. the division. Recyclables are collected on-site and trans- for most of a manufacturing facility’s electricity usage. ferred daily from point-of-use containers to a NMHG shuts down its nonessential air compressors dur- bulk storage hopper for periodic transfer to a ing off shifts and weekends as part of its energy reduction recycling center. Recycled materials include: program. n Sheet plastic Lighting is another area where energy use can be n Steel reduced. NMHG reduced office and conference room n Cardboard lighting by 50% and parking area lighting by 75% in 2009. “For n Wood each fixture that had four fluorescent lamps, we reduced the num- n Aluminum cans ber to two,” Wilson said. “We actually disconnected fixtures in n Glass bottles some of the office areas. We reduced the number of light fixtures n Plastic containers per pole from four to one in our parking lot, while maintaining n Office paper. adequate lighting levels.” The Berea plant installed motion sensors to control Neighborhoods resolve issues, problems the lighting in offices, conference rooms, and restrooms. The Berea plant created what it calls the neighborhood process “This year, we launched a program to replace around 1,100 in response to a corporate quality survey that indicated opportuni- metal-halide lighting fixtures with T8 fluorescent fixtures and ties for better communication and engagement. “We wanted to lamps,” said Wilson. “We have at least a 20% increase in lumen increase the engagement on the shop floor,” White said. “There output in areas where we replaced the metal halides with fluo- are hundreds of great ideas out there.” rescent T8s. From day one, metal halide lamps start to degrade. “We communicated the results of the survey and talked about Around three or four weeks into a brand new metal halide, there’s the items they addressed,” said Lawson. “We held focus groups probably 15% to 20% reduction in output.” on how to address problems. People saw the need for change This year, the Berea plant worked with the Madison County and created a process and set of tools by which they can com- Industrial Board to host an energy summit. School systems, municate issues, concerns, and challenges. The focus groups banks, hospitals, and other local peers attended the summit to were very positive; the result of those meetings became the hear how NMHG reduced its energy usage and environmental neighborhood process.” impact by taking some very small actions. The neighborhood process—a first for NMHG—provides Wilson said the energy summit was very successful. “We the opportunity for team members to meet with their support were able to work with some of our local peers who had gone teams each week in a supervisor-led meeting. Each department 6 • December 2011 plant engineering
  6. 6. TTOP PLANT TOP PLANT T P OP LANT Neil Simpson marries the frame of a lift truck to the drive be taken seriously. It has streamlined our communi- train. A culture of continuous improvement has been a cation as well as the work and support functions.” hallmark of the efforts in Berea. “Knowing where an issue is in the process is half the battle,” said Lawson. “This keeps people or major functional area is a neighborhood. engaged and believing in the process.” Through the neighborhood process, each team member has the opportunity to be heard and receive Driving operations, continuous improvement information about plant operations. Teams iden- The Berea plant holds a kickoff meeting at the tify improvement areas, create action plans, and start of every production day to develop plans and determine when items must be completed. The top eight issues identify potential challenges. Key performance indicators are are prioritized and tracked. reported to evaluate first-hour performance and escalate potential The neighborhood process has proven to be a valu- production issues. able asset for the Berea plant as well as for all of NMHG. Daily production is executed according to demand flow tech- Lawson said the plant has implemented around 1,100 nology (DFT) manufacturing principles, which, according to items. Nearly 700 of them relate to safety and quality, White, is the core of the Berea plant’s manufacturing system. With according to White. DFT, customer demand drives manufacturing production schedul- The neighborhood process is also good for employee morale. ing and operations based on demand pull rather than forecasted Steve Goosey, an assembler at the Berea plant, has been with schedule push principles. DFT aligns business and customer NMHG only about a year. What he likes most about working goals, and is simple, repeatable, effective, and customer-centric. for the company is the way it cares about its people. “The NMHG believes that DFT manufacturing principles and 5s neighborhood process shows us that management is open to (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, sustain) provide the overall employee ideas.” support for waste elimination. “In my opinion, 5s is the bedrock Wilson said prioritization and accountability are other signifi- of any production system,” said White. “Where we have the most cant results of the neighborhood process. “We choose the first traction is around 5s activities.” eight things we want to work on. Everyone knows that’s what Dan Campbell is a business analyst lead at the Berea plant. we need to focus on first. We’re holding ourselves accountable Campbell developed E-Schedule, an electronic scheduling system to knock those things off the board.” that generates production schedules, details product sequences, White said the only person who can take something off the maintains inventory integrity, and performs labor reporting at board or consider it closed is the person who put it on. key stages in the manufacturing process. The underlying glue that holds this process together is com- The E-Schedule system ties the manufacturing operations munication. White said people can bring up issues and will get together according to sequence. It improves operational efficiency feedback and status on them. “Team members know that if by eliminating manual work schedule creation and manipulation. issues are brought up using the neighborhood process, they will “It’s the interface to the external schedule,” said White. “It grabs plant engineering December 2011 • 7
  7. 7. TOP PLANT TOP PLANT TOP PLANT customer orders from our AS-400 system, coordinates them with the proper bills of materials, and determines the indi- vidual piece-parts we need to fabricate for the day’s schedule.” E-Schedule isn’t the only e-manufacturing tool developed at the Berea plant. Campbell also developed the in-house MES, which is based on Windows SQL, .NET, and Visual Basic. The MES tracks activities and resources, links admin- istration to the shop floor, and integrates with other systems in purchasing, shipping/receiving, inventory control, main- tenance, and scheduling. Because the MES is linked to E-Schedule, it triggers and controls workflow by providing detailed unit-specific build information to assembly operators. Maintaining equipment, production uptime The Berea plant performs preventive maintenance (PM) to ensure production uptime. PM tasks not performed by the end of the month are rolled into the next month and become the highest priority. “Our goal is a 95% PM completion rate Building lift trucks in Berea each month,” said Wilson. “With the actions we’ve taken, we’re continually in the 95% to 99% range.” NMHG manufactures both Hyster and Yale Equipment operators are empowered to deal with easily lift trucks. Although there are similarities, each resolved issues, allowing maintenance personnel to spend brand offers different options and features that more time on PM activities. This operator empowerment accommodate different applications. came about as a result of the troubleshooting guides the Because DFT enables one-piece workflow, NMHG can mix different models on the same Berea plant developed for its major equipment. Trouble- 2 0 11 line instead of making lift trucks in batches. shooting guides are decision trees that outline common E-Schedule defines workflow by dividing incoming orders into issues, their causes, and suggested actions or solutions. requirements for the various components manufactured at Anyone can generate work orders when issues arise that the Berea plant. From there, the process of building lift trucks require maintenance intervention. However, they are typi- begins. cally initiated by supervision via a web-based CMMS which Initial cutting and burning operations are done in a com- tracks the work orders and maintains PM schedules. mon fabrication area. Although this is a common area, it is Uptime percentage is reported during the daily kickoff logically grouped according to families of parts. meetings. Issues are tracked through the neighborhood meet- These components are moved into the welding booths ings. Wilson said the troubleshooting guides have resulted where robots weld the major lift truck components such as in more uptime because operators can react to situations masts, overhead guards, and frames. Although robots perform most of the welding, some manual welding tasks are required immediately instead of having to wait for a maintenance team. as well. Welded components and subassemblies are then paint- Conclusion ed. After painting, mast components go into the mast assem- When the economy finally began to recover, NMHG bly area. The remaining painted components are placed on was able to hire, rehire, and train employees. It reduced its the appropriate assembly line. environmental impact and introduced new lift truck models. Lifting capacities determine lift truck sizes. NMHG catego- Because the company used the downturn to prepare for the rizes these sizes into three ranges for assembly purposes. rebound, the Berea plant is lifting its continuous improve- Three separate lines handle lift truck assembly according to ment efforts even higher. these ranges. At NMHG’s Berea facility, continuous improvement is “When the truck is put online, it triggers various feeder cells and subassemblies,” White said. “Then we start assem- driven at all levels of the organization. “We have to continue bling the truck. We prep the frame; put in the power train; and to improve to be the best that we can be,” Gardiner said. put on the overhead guards, the seat, and the covers. We put “Winning the Top Plant award is a mile marker along each lift truck through various quality checks and test a variety the road, and the journey is long.” of components. From here we apply the final decals, including the last one that states ‘Made with pride in Berea, Kentucky.’” Jack Smith is president of BIT Writing and Editing Services and a former Plant Engineering editor. Posted from Plant Engineering, December 2011. Copyright © CFE Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Page layout as originally published in Plant Engineering has been modified. #C7103 Managed by The YGS Group, 800.290.5460. For more information visit