It’s not every day you get to learn from a master. For three days in March, employees from eight west central Minnesota manufacturers hung on every word from David Meier, one of the gurus of lean manufacturing training. During the three-day Job Methods Training course, Meier showed the attendees how to break down a job to its details and eliminate any wasteful tasks, then combine, rearrange and simplify the necessary tasks to create a most efficient workflow.
Tri-State Manufacturers' Association teamed with Enterprise Minnesota and West Central Initiative to bring this world-class instruction to the region. This was no classroom seminar. Attendees observed real-time examples on the shop floors of two companies, Lind-Rite Precision in Osakis, and PAYDAC Plastics, Inc. in Fergus Falls.
Lind-Rite owner Dan Kotek appreciated Meier’s training technique. "[He] has a wealth of manufacturing knowledge to draw from and used a down-to-earth approach to communicate with those of us in attendance,” he explained. “We learned to view our operation from a different viewpoint to achieve better flow and efficiency. The training also focused on the value of asking for input from those involved with the operation, and included techniques for seeking input from the different personalities/attitudes that are inherent in any operation.”
Phil Johnson, owner of PAYDAC Plastics, Inc., was also impressed. “I believe the training will benefit our company greatly moving forward, with a new way to look at our processes and ways to improve on them. David Meier used his experience working for Toyota to bring real-life examples along with a wealth of knowledge to his training methods.”
Meier is a foremost expert in lean manufacturing and is a co-author of two best-selling books, The Toyota Way Fieldbook and Toyota Talent: Developing Your People the Toyota Way.
For more than 20 years, WCI has been providing support for manufacturing workforce training for incumbent workers through its Workforce 2020 grant program. The premise is that, as the workers' skill sets increase, so do their wages as they move along the career ladder. WCI works with Enterprise Minnesota, a nonprofit manufacturing consultant, to develop needed training and bring in top-notch instructors like Meier.
Tri-State Manufacturing and Enterprise Minnesota are exploring bringing Meier back to the region this summer to offer Job Instruction Training to supervisors. If your company might be interested, contact the TSMA office at 800-654-5773 or Midwest@runestone.net.
Portions of story reprinted with permission from Tri-State Manufacturers' Association.