The nice thing about Iowa Lean Consortium events, according to Sara Richards, is that the useful tips are all around you. Richards, a continuous improvement manager at Vermeer in Pella, attended two ILC events last year, including a May workshop in Omaha where facilitators Tracey and Ernie Richardson helped participants simulate a “real-life, hands-on” approach to continuous improvement.
For John Nelson, the difference was like night and day—largely because everything looks dark when customers can’t find your website. Nelson is sales manager for ESCP Corporation, a Davenport metal fabricator and manufacturer of metal stacking racks. ESCP’s website used to work wonderfully, he said. But then one day, a periodic Google algorithm change seemingly knocked the company out of favor. All web-based leads just evaporated.
An Orange City manufacturer of medical devices found a faster, cheaper, and more precise way to bring its new product to market after CIRAS showed the company how industrial scanners could be used to prove the product’s effectiveness. CIVCO Radiotherapy, a 36-year-old company that makes a broad variety of radiation therapy products, created the Solstice SRS Immobilization System to keep patients immobile during stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT). Both procedures involve delivering high-dose radiation to very specific areas of the head and neck.
CIRAS is on a journey to help Iowa manufacturers discover and implement the future of manufacturing.
Michael Nunn hasn’t yet found the product improvement idea he was searching for, but at least he now knows that he’s on the correct path. Nunn is the owner of Birmingham Manufacturing, a four-person shop in Birmingham, Iowa, that makes condensated evaporating pans for use in commercial coolers. The pans, which contain a heating element and sit below refrigeration units, work to evaporate the water that drips from inside coolers.
Success in government contracting requires that you convince a government agency that you’re the best choice to fill any particular need. To get there, you have to know how the system works, who to deal with, what the rules are, and how to cast yourself in the best possible light. CIRAS is planning a special event this spring to help you understand all of that.
A new year means it’s time for a new beginning and new resolutions about how we’d like to improve. Would you like to talk about that? Are you looking to connect with other Lean practitioners and share ideas about continuous improvement? If so, we think you should put “attend an ILC Lean coffee” on the top of your 2019 resolutions list.
It’s hard to believe that 2018 is rapidly coming to a close. In a few weeks, we will be celebrating the New Year! Do you ever take time to reflect on your successes and failures? I encourage you, during this month, to think back to goals you set for 2018. Did you achieve them? Did you fall short? What lessons have you learned?
The Orbis Corporation’s plastic container manufacturing plant in Monticello has a significantly quieter corner of the factory now, after a capstone project by Iowa State University engineering students reduced the noise from a nearby granulator.
The shelves in Randy Monk’s Altoona, Iowa, office are lined with the artifacts of decades past. At one corner sits a stack of the stamped metal ashtrays Artistic Manufacturing Corporation once produced as a sideline. A few feet to the right, you’ll find one of the small, decorative metal pots that the company made and sold to florist shops until the 1960s. In between those historical outposts sit older versions of the crosses, cups, and communion plates that have been the bulk of Artistic’s sales for more than 50 years.