Elkay Manufacturing Improves their Supply Chain with Lean

One of the key elements on my American Lean Weekday podcast is the weekly interviews that I conduct with companies on their Lean Journey. These companies are from various industries and are all different sizes. I have interviewed leaders from family-owned businesses to multi-national organizations. This podcast can be found here. It is episode seventy-seven of the American Lean Weekday podcast. Ron shares how Elkay improves its supply chain with Lean.

Elkay Manufacturing is headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois, and is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year! They employ roughly 3,500 employees across 29 locations worldwide.

These are some key points taken from my interview with the Global Supplier Quality Manager, Ron Gamboa.

I was fortunate to mentor Ron when he was a co-op student at my alma mater- the University of Cincinnati. I was a consultant at an MEP and he was the first co-op student we ever hired. He set the bar high for students after him! He was sharp then and continues to improve organizations with his knowledge and skills.

  1. We take a larger view when working with our Asian suppliers. It’s more than getting more widgets per hour. We want to develop them for the long term. Elkay improves its supply chain in Asia.
  2. “It has taken one to two years to build up the level of trust with one key supplier, but it had paid benefits.”
  3. We have dedicated Continuous Improvement teams using Value Stream Mapping to re-optimize some of our key processes.
  4. “We noticed we were taking short-cuts in some of our processes. We should take the opportunity to remove the waste and make those processes more efficient.”
  5. We have focused on office processes to eliminate time. Up to 40% of your lead time can be a result of inefficient office processes.
  6. “Take baby steps. Put in place trust, communication, transparency, and knowledge and your change efforts will be a lot easier!”

As always, it is an honor to serve you and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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