Through a partnership with St. Louis Community College designed to provide customers with unsurpassed quality and reliability through continuous improvement by implementing Lean manufacturing practices, Hydromat Inc. recently received the World Class Manufacturer of the Year Award from the Missouri Association of Manufacturers.
The award was presented at the organization’s recent Made in Missouri Leadership Awards & Appreciation Event.
Hydromat is a recognized industry leader in the manufacture and assembly of precision transfer machines — Rotary, Inline, and Trunnion models, the revolutionary AT Advanced Technology machines, as well as the newly introduced ICON 6-250 Productivity Center — and has a reputation built on a commitment to product quality, customer service and technological innovation.
Realizing that excellence is a journey and not a destination, in June 2011 Hydromat partnered with the Corporate Services Group of St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group to accelerate its drive toward the highest degrees of product quality and customer services. To achieve this, and with the guidance of Corporate Services Group Lean consultants, Hydromat launched a tightly focused, intensive drive to develop a strong and lasting culture of continuous improvement, using the methodologies of Lean manufacturing.
As a first step in their launch of Lean methodologies, CEO Bruno Schmitter sent a memo to all employees in which he wrote: “We have continuously benefited from the creativity of our teammates in improving product quality. Now we need your best thoughts and observations on steps that should be taken to make our organization more productive.”
Hydromat conducted a Lean Deployment Survey, asking all employees for their ideas on how to improve operations. Based on this survey, as well as one-on-one interviews with managers and supervisors, the Corporate Services Group developed a comprehensive Lean deployment plan that included:
• Implementation of the 5S System, a Lean tool used to eliminate all forms of waste in work environments.
• Launch of the Idea Board, a simple and powerful tool to drive high degrees of employee engagement in work process improvements.
• Enrollment of all managers and supervisors in the STLCC’s widely acclaimed Lean Leadership Certification program. This series of 10 seminars focused on giving Hydromat’s leadership team the skills and knowledge needed to serve as highly effective coaches in a Lean manufacturing environment.