Table: Bringing Kaizen to the Small Shops

Under a program that has since been replicated at other colleges, engineers at North Carolina State University put hundreds of area companies through detailed kaizen blitzes. Here's a sample of how these small teams revamped old practices to deliver improved efficiencies.


Standard was anxious to boost productivity at its Mt. Gilead (N.C.) plant, which makes plastic bags and boxes. NCSU standardized carton packing procedures and instituted point-of-use storage. The moves helped cut inventories by half and boost workstation productivity by 20%-50%.


This Raleigh (N.C.)-based maker of millwork for wooden arches faced problems with wood chip collection and its dust ventilation systems. Student consultants debugged everything from machine design to waste minimization and environmental compliance. Revenues have since grown fiftyfold.


Kidde makes aircraft fire extinguishing and detection equipment at Wilson (N.C.) plant. With help from NCSU, the plant moved from batch to one-piece flow manufacturing and implemented just-in-time delivery of components. Kidde has since upped capacity by 300% and reduced scrap.

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