Lean Support Small Groups

This group is composed of KCMN members who are looking for a way to interact with others who are utilizing Lean principles to improve their operations. The member group of manufacturers agrees to support each other’s efforts to make improvements along their Lean journey.

The essence of the group is as follows:

  • The group meets quarterly at a member company for 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • The host company sends out 3 dates to vote and the majority wins.
  •  Hosting includes a presentation and tour of the area of focus as part of the meeting.
  • The hosting company should determine in advance of the meeting what specific area of Lean they would like to focus on as part of their presentation and tour so that participants can come prepared to discuss and offer suggestions.
  • Participants can then offer suggestions and feedback to the host following the tour and presentation.
  • Joining the group means you have to be willing to host the group at least once every 2 years, and be open to both an honest assessment of areas for improvement, and interested in getting both positive and negative feedback.
  • Maximum benefit is attained when host company management at a level to effect change is in attendance during the feedback session.
  • Any new member must be approved by all members to avoid conflict of interest.

In addition to the regular KCMN monthly meetings, this group is an added benefit to KCMN members, as a way to help get more interaction between member companies, and for members to provide support and growth in their efforts to increase efficiencies. This group is limited in size, and new members are subject to current member approval.

Should this be of interest to you, or someone else in your company, please send their contact information to Donna Gordon at donna@kcmn.org, or 816-304-7958.

Principles of Lean: Beyond the Shop Floor – May Meeting Recap

May’s Kansas City Manufacturing Network meeting featured a panel of manufacturing professionals, who shared their best practices for expanding Lean concepts to processes and services, and not just on the production floor.

Principles of Lean: Beyond the Shop Floor

May 10 2016













May’s Kansas City Manufacturing Network meeting featured a panel of manufacturing professionals, who shared their best practices for expanding Lean concepts to processes and services, and not just on the production floor.  The panel was led by Joe Torrago, Project Manager for MAMTC, who has helped Kansas-based organizations achieve their growth plans since coming on board with MAMTC in early 2015, and has led Lean implementation in 3 companies and 2 countries.  Joe noted that a current project he is working on with a local municipality was helping to streamline the permitting process, as the existing process was eliminating wasteful steps that did not add value to the process.

Talli Denney, Retail Technology Director, Sally Luck, Director of Corporate Services, and Mark Pettit, Corporate Services Manager, Hallmark Cards, Inc. discussed Hallmark’s transition from Lean in plant operations, to a broader tool for all areas of the business.  The ultimate driver for their Lean initiative was to help determine if services and processes were adding value to the customer.  For example, help desk functions were being considered for outsourcing.  However, with the implementation of Lean problem solving tools, help desk employees became empowered to add value by seeking solutions to common problems, thus eliminating or reducing issues that increased call volume. This led to increased customer satisfaction, as well as cost savings for the company.

The panelists noted that Hallmark’s creation of Lean coaches helps to sustain the Lean efforts, and also had the benefit of creating new challenges and development opportunities for those who are coaches, which boosts morale in an environment where not everyone can earn a promotion.  Another key to success of Lean efforts was changing the culture where it became OK to challenge management, to point out problems, and have a hand in creating solutions.  This change created momentum for the company’s Lean efforts, as empowered employees worked to solve problems using the Lean tools.

Additionally, the complaint that people don’t have time to devote to Lean efforts can be overcome by taking small bite sized efforts – 30 minutes a day, and over time the participants can see that the Lean efforts actually result in time savings as wasteful processes are eliminated or changed.


Thomas Dunbar, Mechanical Level Production Supervisor, SOR, Inc. discussed the success he has had with expanding the concept of Lean beyond just seeing it as a tool to solve problems.  SOR holds Kaizen events not just to discuss problems, but to also discuss what is working well, and how that success can be built on in other areas. Thomas noted that there were those who saw the efforts in a negative light, and that early on, it’s important to start with some ‘quick wins’ that are more visible – employees won’t always buy in to benefits they can’t see, which is more common in an office environment where work is less visible than in production.  He also noted the importance of building a Lean team that has multiple perspectives – sales, purchasing, accounting, etc, so that the issues are viewed from different problem solving angles.  Finally, he noted that when looking to prioritize issues, choosing the laziest person you know can help bring problems to light, as the things they are complaining about most are likely also the most in need of improvement.

Among the takeaways noted by the panelists:

  • Seek opportunities to benchmark performance measures and differentiate between value added and non value added activities.
  • Don’t get caught up in terminology – using common terms instead of some of the ‘Lean’ terms removes some of the mystique around Lean and makes it more accessible.
  • Creating Lean champions, or inside experts is key to creating and building on momentum.
  • Find ways to celebrate wins, and recognize the people who contribute to gains and efforts.
  • Understand that there will always be naysayers, or those who don’t buy in completely.  Try to focus some effort to make the complainers part of the process, but don’t let managing them bog you down
  • Remember that value is determined by the customer, that the ultimate goal of any Lean effort is to improve the customer experience.

Visual Process Control & Communication

Holland Plant Tour  1300 Burlington, North Kansas City, MO 64116

Tuesday, March 4- 7:30-9:00 AM

holland1916.com - 2012-09-21 - 15h-34m-30s

Visual process control is a valuable tool for improving plant layout and department setup in order to gain efficiencies and improved communication.   You can talk about visual controls, but of course it’s better to see them in action.  Holland 1916 is hosting our March meeting with a brief overview of their visual process control and communication, and a facility tour to demonstrate these principles in action.

About Holland

Holland’s North Kansas City facility is the home for two companies from the Holland 1916 family – Holland Nameplate and Holland RFID.  Holland 1916 is headquartered in Liberty, MO along with Holland Integrated Metal Solutions and Holland Interface Solutions.

Holland Nameplate is an ISO 9001-2008 certified manufacturer of chemically etched and screen printed stainless steel and aluminum nameplates, data plates and control panels.  Our customers are world-wide OEM manufacturers – many of which are Fortune 500 companies.  Industries that we serve include:  oil & gas, valves, process measurement equipment, lifting slings, transportation, and medical.  Holland Nameplate has an industry leading 5 day lead-time for non-stock items.

Holland RFID provides custom manufactured and highly rugged RFID tag solutions intended for the most hazardous environments. Holland’s durable RFID tags can be found on assets in industries that require unique, ruggedized inventory and asset tracking solutions, such as oil & gas, construction, and mining. By embedding RFID transponders into metal or high-density synthetic carriers, RFID can now be used in extreme applications that would quickly destroy off-the-shelf RFID tags or traditional bar code labels.

Limited to the first 45 people to sign up.

Cost is $15 for members and $25 for guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up today at BY CLICKING HERE or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958, or donna@kcmn.org



7:30 – 7:45  Sign in, breakfast and networking

7:45  – Company presentation and Q & A

8:00 or after Q & A – Tours begin

Parking is limited, please carpool if possible.  Holland is located at the northwest corner of 13th street and Burlington.  Holland does not have a dedicated parking lot but there is a public lot on 13th street between Burlington and Swift (east of Burlington) on the north side of 13th.  Please be careful crossing Burlington as there is no light at 13th.

KCMN is brought to you by our sponsor partners, MAMTC, whose mission is to help companies realize never ending growth in the rapidly changing global marketplace and Missouri Enterprise, whose mission is to help Missouri manufacturers succeed.

LEAN vs. MRP Friend or Foe?

KCMN April meeting and SOR plant tour – Thanks to all who made this tour a great success – for those who missed the tour, photos are below!

SOR has been on a LEAN journey since 2010.  A significant element of this LEAN journey has been design and implementation of techniques for improving demand flow.  Everything SOR supplies is executed via a configure and build to order process.  With the many options offered in our product set this results in a high mix production environment with a relatively high variability in demand.  Come see how SOR has used LEAN demand flow techniques such as design capacity, Kanban, and standard packaging, in concert with MRP in our LEAN implementation.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 
7:30  – 9:00 AM
14685 West 105th Street, Lenexa, KS 66215Print

7:30 – 8:00 AM – Registration, breakfast and networking
8:00 – 8:20 AM – SOR company presentation
8:20 – 9:00 AM  Plant tour

Please bring safety glasses or sunglasses to wear for the tour, as protective eyewear is required on the shop floor.  Closed toe shoes are also required.

Cost is $15 for members and $25 for guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up today at BY CLICKING HERE, or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958, or donna@kcmn.org

SOR Overview

SOR is a Kansas based globally recognized manufacturer and marketer of high quality process instrumentation. We offer a comprehensive line of pressure, level, temperature and flow measurement products. SOR actively serves all sectors of the process industry, with our particular strength being in the Oil & Gas, Power, Petrochemical, and Chemical segments.

 Due to limited space, no shows will be billed. Cancellations will be accepted no later than 3 business days prior to an event. Cancellations of reservations paid by credit card will be assessed a $10 processing fee by the registration service, or contact us for event credit for a future event. Guests may register as a guest for up to 2 events before membership is required. For questions or comments, please contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center  and Missouri Enterprise are our Network sponsors. The event is open to area manufacturers and their suppliers. We invite you to join with us to make KCMN the premier resource for manufacturers.

KCMN SOR Tour_1 KCMN SOR Tour_2 KCMN SOR Tour_3 KCMN SOR Tour_5 KCMN SOR Tour_6 KCMN SOR Tour_7 KCMN SOR Tour_9 KCMN SOR Tour_10 KCMN SOR Tour_11

Huhtamaki – Developing a CI Process and Culture that Accelerates Improvement

KCMN June Presentation and Tour – SOLD OUT – Thank you for your interest in KCMN!

HuhtamakiKCMN members who are striving to implement continuous improvement initiatives know that they not only need to consider the process but also what it means to the people who are implementing it, measuring it and leading the charge. Our June meeting will discuss:

  • History of Huhtamaki’s CI Program
  • Defining Principles
  • Gaining Engagement
  • Lessons Learned

IMPORTANT: No open toed shoes or jewelry allowed for tour, we will provide hairnets, ear plugs and safety glasses.

Tuesday, June 14
7:30–9:45 AM
9201 Packaging Drive Desoto, KS  66018

Parking: Park in any open spot in Visitor or Employee parking sections (car pool if possible) Enter through “Employee Entrance” where you will be greeted by a Huhtamaki employee and escorted up to the meeting room.

About Huhtamaki

Huhtamaki is a global consumer and specialty packaging company. Our focus and expertise is in technologies such as paper, plastics, films and molded fiber. We offer products from stock and custom designs to total packaging systems and solutions.  Huhtamaki Industries was established in 1920 in Kokkola, Western Finland, by Heikki Huhtamaki, a village baker’s son. Today, Huhtamaki Oyj, is headquartered in Espoo, Finland. In the United States, our collective history goes back even further. Huhtamaki’s U.S. growth has been largely through the acquisition of such leading companies as Sealright, which originated in the 1870s and leading brands such as Chinet, whose molded fiber technology was developed in 1903 by Martin Keyes of the Keyes Fibre Company in Waterville, ME where Chinet is still made.


7:30 AM  Sign in & breakfast – Coffee, juice, water, muffins and fruit
8:00–9:30 AM  Tour and presentation (divide into two groups)
9:30 AM  Wrap up and Q & A

IMPORTANT: No open toed shoes or jewelry allowed for tour, we will provide hairnets, ear plugs and safety glasses.

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) and Missouri Enterprise are the Network’s sponsoring organizations.

Sales and Operations Planning: The Missing Ingredient to Improved Efficiency?

Presentation and Discussion
KCMN May Meeting

While productivity and efficiency gains are a frequently mentioned goal of KCMN members, those gains are harder to achieve when trying to forecast in an uncertain environment.

A formal definition of Sales & Operations Planning is function of setting the overall level of manufacturing output (production plan) and other activities to best satisfy the current planned levels of sales (sales plan and/or forecasts), while meeting general business objectives of profitability, productivity, and competitive customer lead times. Another definition is the answer to the question, “How do you reconcile what sales says they’re going to sell with what we need to produce?”

KCMN will feature sales and operations planning expert John Boyer who will discuss the process of Sales and Operations planning. Desired results include asset utilization, cost management, and on-time shipment performance. This presentation includes the what-why-who-when fundamentals of S&OP, and its application and lessons learned from implementation at Milbank Manufacturing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Training Center – 5601 Gardner Kansas City, MO  64120

Parking is in the paved parking lot (look for the big wind turbine). Entrance to the training center is off of this parking lot (sign is over the door)


7:45 AM  Welcome and Overview of Milbank Manufacturing
8:00 AM  Presentation on Sales and Operations Planning by John Boyer
8:45 AM  Milbank’s Results, lessons learned and future expectations
9:15 AM  Discussion and Q & A

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) and Missouri Enterprise are the Network’s sponsoring organizations.

About our Presenters and Host

John E. Boyer, Jr.  PE, CFPIM – President of J.E. Boyer Company, Inc.

John E. Boyer, Jr., PE, CFPIM, is President of J. E. Boyer Company, Inc., a management education and consulting company. John has 38 years experience as a manufacturing professional, consultant, and university educator including Rockwell International, Emerson Electric, and Weber State University. He has completed 40 S&OP design and implementation projects in a wide variety of industries including metal fabrication, electronics, automotive, sporting goods, and healthcare. John has a BS-IE from Lehigh University and an MBA from Utah State University, is a frequent speaker for many professional organizations.

Eric Krichbaum – SR. VP of Operations/COO at Milbank Manufacturing

Eric has 28 years of leadership experience within a manufacturing environment. At Milbank, he has responsibility for the production, logistics/inventory management, procurement, product engineering and environmental, health and safety functions. Eric has been a valued leader in the implementation of lean and change management principles, strategic planning and supporting business processes and organizational structures resulting in improved operational performance. He promotes an environment that values a culture of learning, achieving results and continuous improvement through the active engagement of all employees.

About Milbank Manufacturing

Milbank builds solutions that move electrical power for the residential, commercial, industrial, utility and transportation sectors. Milbank combines over 80 years of expertise in electrical distribution with a commitment to develop and globally implement sustainable, integrated power solutions. Milbank’s portfolio includes electric metering systems, commercial and industrial enclosures and control products and PowerGen™ wind and solar solutions, stand-by and portable power. A third-generation, family-owned business, Milbank Manufacturing Company is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. For more information, please visit www.milbankmfg.com or www.milbankpowergen.com.

Lean Confusion?

As we launched our Lean Benchmarking Group, this was a central issue – how do we define what Lean is? Brian McCarthy shared this article with me, and it’s a great summary on the issues surrounding Lean – how do you define it, and who is implementing it. Ultimately, the article summarizes the challenges of Lean, and proposes that employee buy in at all levels is the key to sustaining gains.
Link to the article: http://www.industryweek.com/articles/lean_confusion_22538.aspx