Conference helps small manufacturers adopt lean practices.

Press Release Summary:

Co-sponsored by SME and Tooling and Manufacturing Association, Making Lean Work for the Job Shop and Small Manufacturer Conference is scheduled for Oct 1-2, 2008. On Oct 1, Paul D. Ericksen, a 30-year veteran of John Deere and lean expert will deliver opening keynote, and conference participants will be able to attend 1 of 5 lean plant tours. Day 2 will feature presentations and case studies on topics such as road blocks to implementing lean and quick response cost estimating.

Original Press Release:

Helping Small Manufacturers Take Lean Leaps of Faith

SME Event Offers Real Lean Practices, Companies, Solutions

DEARBORN, Mich., August 25, 2008 - With recent headlines about a tougher-than-usual economy, resulting in production slowdowns and layoffs, more and more companies are adopting lean, a "less-is-more" approach to manufacturing.

And as lean times call for lean measures, these processes have been slow to catch on with job shops and smaller manufacturers simply because they view lean as something that only applies to large production companies like Boeing, Nike or Toyota.

To help these manufacturers take lean leaps of faith, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), along with event co-sponsor the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and supporter, the Tooling & Manufacturing Association, are offering the Making Lean Work for the Job Shop & Small Manufacturer Conference.

Scheduled for October 1-2, 2008, this comprehensive conference at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago in Oak Brook, IL will bring together real practices, real companies and real solutions.

For those new to lean, the event begins September 30 with a pre-conference lean refresher course led by Rob Ptacek. Ptacek, who has more than 25 years of experience working with job shops and small manufacturing facilities, will cover a broad range of topics including concepts of a lean transformation, similarities and differences between lean applications in high volume and low volume environments, and the how to's of leading a lean revolution.

On Wednesday, October 1, Paul D. Ericksen, a 30-year veteran of John Deere and lean expert will deliver the opening keynote: "Your Role in the Enterprise Value Stream." Before retiring last year, Ericksen worked with dozens of John Deere suppliers helping them become lean so that they could better compete for ongoing John Deere business.

"We helped our job-shop and small manufacturer suppliers define and optimize their internal value streams," said Ericksen. Then we assisted them in understanding how they could best align them with our needs. My presentation is intended to give a thorough overview of the important role that lean can play in making it possible for the little guy to compete globally."

Additional guest speakers will lead presentations about such topics as the real-world challenges a family-owned business and small job shops faced when launching a lean initiative.

Conference participants will then have their choice of one of five lean plant tours: the aluminum foundry Acme Alliance, metal producer Allegheny Technologies, job shop Bryco Machine, custom manufacturer Schultes Precision Manufacturing or family-owned corrugated box maker, StandFast Packaging, These sites, will provide in-action examples of how to implement lean in smaller and job shop environments.

Following the tours, the various plant managers will sit down for a roundtable discussion and Q & A session.

Day two will feature a mix of presentations and case studies on such diverse topics as what can be learned from statboards to motivate and instruct the shop-floor, road blocks and bumps to implementing lean, a case study in quick response cost estimating, the ongoing lean journey and other topics.

Dale Dulyea will later present the closing keynote, "The Greater the People Factor, the Greater the Lean Impact." Dulyea, the current continuous improvement manager at GR Spring & Stamping has worked for the last 17 years building GR's reputation as a leader in applying lean to the job shop.

"Lean in theory always sounds good. But how do you get it to work in practice? By getting everyone in your organization to buy-in to the idea, which is great news for a smaller shop. This is the only true way to go lean," he said.

For the most complete information, or to register, please visit

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About SME:

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers is the world's leading professional society supporting manufacturing education. Through its member programs, publications, expositions and professional development resources, SME promotes an increased awareness of manufacturing engineering and helps keep manufacturing professionals up to date on leading trends and technologies. Headquartered in Michigan, SME influences more than half a million manufacturing practitioners and executives annually. The Society has members in more than 70 countries and is supported by a network of hundreds of technical communities and chapters worldwide.

About AME:

The Association for Manufacturing Excellence is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1985 dedicated to helping companies with continuous improvement and their pursuit of excellence. Its core areas of lean manufacturing knowledge include continuous improvement tools like value stream mapping, kaizen, Lean Supply Chain, Lean New Product Development, Lean Accounting, and Leadership of Lean transformation. AME is practitioner-based and offers hands-on events and workshops taught by those who with first-hand experience and vast best practice knowledge.

About TMA:

The Tooling and Manufacturing Association represents 1,300 Chicago area companies that provide manufacturers worldwide with tools & dies, molds, jigs & fixtures, special machinery, automation equipment, precision machining, turned parts, metal stampings and fabricated metal parts, plastic molded parts, die cast parts, subassemblies, plating, engraving and heat treating services. The TMA membership also features suppliers of industrial machinery & equipment, software, systems, materials and services.


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