La-Z-Boy Lean

La-Z-Boy changing production lines to compete with China [the broken link was removed]:

But in an attempt to better compete with the overseas market, the Neosho plant, along with six others in its division, is transitioning to the Lean Cellular Manufacturing method. In the new concept, the chair or sofa is manufactured by a team within a cell, thus eliminating separate departments. No jobs will be lost in the transition from batch-and-queue to lean cellular.

“Basically, we will have teams building the chairs from start to finish,” said La-Z-Boy Midwest Human Relations Manager Billy Meyer. “Right now, we have three cells up and running, but by the end of the transition, we will have 37 cells.”

Great news. It is good when companies take the improvement strategy to cope with changes in the marketplace.

The primary purpose of the new concept is to increase product numbers. The cells have become so efficient that it has cut the manufacturing time of a chair down from two and one-half days to just three hours.

“This is now a three-hour process from start to finish in the cell, “said La-Z-Boy Midwest production manager Bill Snow. “The process ends with a 12-point inspection. The cell members will not get paid for the piece until it is taken to where it will boxed. But eventually, boxing will take place in the cell as well.”

I agree with Mark Graban that a piece rate pay system is a bad idea.

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