Welch Allyn "All In" on Continuous Improvement

Welch Allyn, a designer and manufacturer of frontline medical diagnostic equipment, faced difficult decisions to consolidate manufacturing operations from four different U.S. sites. The Beaverton facility, while operating at a high level of quality and capability, sought to strengthen the likelihood of not only maintaining but increasing the amount of manufacturing at their facility.

OMEP worked closely with Welch Allyn to incorporate Lean manufacturing principles into their business model by providing training and establishing and implementing standards, audits, and a significant metrics program.

Situation

  • Industry  Biomedical
  • Location  Beaverton
  • Date Founded  1915
  • Number of Employees  460

Welch Allyn faces increased and ongoing pressures from domestic and foreign competition. At the same time that the company was confronted with a critical need to increase profitability, quality, and shorter delivery lead times, it also wanted to incorporate additional manufacturing capacity from another of its manufacturing locations.

Welch Allyn needed assistance to transforming its entire operation to a culture of continuous improvement.

Testimonial

OMEP has been key to our success in making our Lean transformation. We have been working with OMEP for over two years now and the results have been fantastic.

— Peter Murray, Vice President Operations West

Solution

OMEP work closely with Welch Allyn to provide training, implementation and support, and guidance to help them transform into a Lean enterprise.

Because of Welch Allyn's size and numerous needs, several processes were created to implement their vision of becoming a Lean enterprise.

  • A steering committee was created to evaluate opportunities, select Lean projects, assign resources, and ensure continued focus, and direction. Business needs were established and used to prioritize Lean activities.
  • OMEP provided numerous classes to teach the Lean principles and concepts. More advanced Lean and leadership classes helped support the ongoing transformation.
  • Specific Lean projects used Value Stream Mapping to implement "Future States" with less waste, increased visibility, better flow, less WIP, higher quality, and increased productivity. Team leaders stayed on track by reporting progress at a weekly accountability meeting where they also obtained help in overcoming roadblocks.
  • OMEP worked closely with Welch Allyn to establish standards, audits, and a significant metrics program to sustain the gains and to create a continuous improvement environment.

Results

  • Moving manufacturing operation to Beaverton resulting in 50 new Oregon jobs
  • Over $600,000 invested in into a new facility to accommodate the increased growth.
  • Saved nearly $1 million in direct expenses as a result of implementing Lean practices
  • Beaverton location retained over $120 million in annual sales
  • Inventory reduced by more than $500,000
  • Over 250 employees received Lean training in a total of 750 training occurrences (most completed numerous classes)
  • Completed more than 20 Lean projects and 10 Kaizen events
  • Invested more than $300,000 in workforce and skills training

Let's Join Forces 

Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership
12909 SW 68th Parkway, Suite 140
Portland, OR 97223
p. 503 406-3770                    f. 503 406-3779

Contact Us »

Blog »

Calendar »