Challenge

Process by process business design with no natural flow

Lead-times too long for the customers' needs

High cost of labor in factories and high cost to quality

Too many projects conducted concurrently

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“I realized we needed to increase our own commitment if we were to achieve higher levels of productivity and ultimately greater cost reductions.”

Harley Ensing, COO

Solution

We initially analyzed the entire value-stream to establish the need for linking operations based on takt time and flow methodologies. WhiteWater then worked through the entire business, from steel processing, to theming, to shipping, in order to identify and eliminate costs of quality, high labor costs, outsourcing stagnation, and need to expand operations.  They were able to conduct comprehensive production planning and administrative reform based on actual demand and the uncovered capacity on the frontline value-added processes.  This was a total transformation of the business.

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“We purposely wanted to start at the grassroots shop floor level… Ultimately, we re-evaluated the way we did our issue of work orders to the shop floor, allowing the last process to define what they needed, thus creating the pull system that Lean demanded.”

Harley Ensing, COO

Results

After achieving savings of 30–35% in each front line processes, their production management reform was able to leverage this into an overall savings of 30%. This also resulted in a significant reduction in lead-time for delivering finished products to customers. They can now output more products with fewer people, at a lower cost. Quality also increased naturally because the employees self-managed their work as well as designed the entire manufacturing system and communication system.

In 2015, WhiteWater Industries received Canada’s Best Managed Company Award.

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“The culture changed to one where employees were invested, self motivated to make improvements and committed to the new process.”

Harley Ensing, COO

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