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July 8, 2013

Bundling Your Black Belt Projects

We require all our Black Belt participants to pick a project to work on that will save the company at least $250,000 per year and includes a Design of Experiment (DOE). Saving $250,000 is a tough challenge. But so is the DOE or finding a project that requires one. One of my Black Belt participants was very creative (which I love) and bundled nine smaller projects, that individually saved about $3000 – $85,000 per year, with a resulting savings of $3,934,000! It is really exciting when projects save at this level.

I would say that the secret to this team’s success was creating smaller teams to individually focus on each smaller project. The projects included 5S, Quick Change, Tooling Costs, Quality, Fixtures and Inspection. The DOE focused on Tooling Cost and Tooling Life.

So, as always, teams were formed, charters were written, and a histogram was started to track variable costs.  Each team Brainstormed, Reviewed History, did an Affinity Diagram, and narrowed the Ideas to a vital few. Variable costs were tracked at a detail level to look for opportunities for savings.

The 5S and Quick Change probably kicked off the Lean Process but quickly the Quality Issues pushed the project into high performance. The Tool Life DOE was the final success. What was so beautiful about the DOE was that the results were not what everyone expected. The Cutting Tools Speeds that were most successful as measured in Tool Life, Capacity and Quality were different that conventional wisdom suggested. When new Cutting Speeds were combined with a new coolant, the 5S and Quick Change, as well as new Tooling geometry, the project was a total success.

But in my opinion, the biggest success was that everyone that participated and learned from using the Tools. Saving money was a definite bonus!

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