Wisconsin Manufacturing

Editorial: A way forward for state companies, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The idea of lean manufacturing is pretty close to a religion at Ariens these days. The tenets: Be quick on the draw. Improve continuously. Be open to change. Get everyone – shop floor to board room – involved. The company’s output has nearly tripled in six years with a work force that has remained steady at about 1,000. Productivity is up, on average, about 17% a year, Ariens says.

Manufacturing and related industries are still a huge piece of Wisconsin’s economy – nearly half by some estimates.

The state should boost funding for the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which preaches the gospel of lean manufacturing. Statewide, companies helped by the partnership reported $233 million in improvements during fiscal 2006. The non-profit group offers low-cost consulting to small- to mid-sized companies and receives both state and federal funding.

It’s a sign that Wisconsin manufacturers can play a major role in the state for years to come. And lean manufacturing is a key to that.

Wisconsin continues to succeed as an example of manufacturing success. And I think shows an example of how the public sector can work with the private sector for economic benefit. Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership wins $3 million NIST grant. Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership web site. In the Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog we post about the potential economic benefits possible from universities – this is another area where Wisconsin does well.

Related: Commentary to the Milwaukee JournalManufacturing and the Economy Some Positive Lean Tales

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