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Eaton, Lion Vallen Are Named Progressive Manufacturers of the Year

Posted By Jeff Moad, May 12, 2011 at 8:14 AM, in Category: Summit 2011

Transformational projects earn Eaton Corp. and Lion Vallen Industries top honors, while nine others are singled out for PM100 High Achiever awards

PALM BEACH, FL—Eaton Corp. and Lion Vallen Industries last night were honored as Progressive Manufacturers of the Year, signifying that they have excelled in the use of transformational business thinking and advanced technologies to achieve outstanding business results.

The two companies received the awards at a gala dinner and ceremony that concluded the seventh annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit. Also recognized at the event were the 100 winners of the 2011 PM100 Awards, nine PM100 High Achiever companies, two winners of the PM100 Editors’ Choice Award winners, and 24 winners of 2011 PM100 Technology Partner Awards.

The nine PM100 High Achievers for 2011 are Saint-Gobain Sekurit, The Boeing Co., The Mosaic Co., General Motors, Itron Inc., Applied Materials Inc., Hologic Inc., c3controls, and Steinwall Inc.

The PM100 Awards recognize manufacturing companies from around the world that, through innovative initiatives, have demonstrated mastery of at least one of eight core disciplines that are critical to the success of manufacturing enterprises now and in the future. Winners are selected from among hundreds of nominations that are reviewed by a judging panel of distinguished manufacturing experts.

Nominations for the 2012 Progressive Manufacturing Awards will be accepted beginning Sept. 9.

Top PM100 Award winners this year were driven by the need to respond to intensifying global competition and rising customer expectations. They met those challenges by fundamentally transforming core business models, business processes, and systems, in most cases realizing impressive productivity, cultural, and bottom-line improvements.

Winners of the Progressive Manufacturer of the Year awards were recognized for having demonstrated mastery of multiple Progressive Manufacturing disciplines.

Eaton Corp., the large-enterprise Progressive Manufacturer of the Year winner, for example, launched a Global Standardization & Integration initiative, a multi-faceted push to gain global operational efficiency and forge stronger customer relationships. Standard ERP and customer relationship management systems were deployed at more than 30 sites across 20 countries. And a standard shop-floor operational dashboard, deployed across 140 manufacturing sites, provided visibility into key metrics, allowing the maker of aerospace, automotive, electrical, and industrial products and equipment to reduce cash-to-cash cycle times and improve inventory turns. So far, the project has generated $74 million in increased revenue, operational savings, and free cash flow, with more to come.

The award was accepted by John M. Gercak, Information Technology Vice President with Eaton’s Vehicle Group. Gercak predicted that winning the award will help inspire his team and Eaton to take the Global Standardization & Integration initiative to higher levels.

Lion Vallen Industries, the winner of the Progressive Manufacturer of the Year award for small and medium-size enterprises, was recognized for its Rapid Improvement and Optimization project, which was aimed at helping the provider of personal protective equipment for military and emergency-services personnel to better compete with sometimes much larger companies for Department of Defense contracts. The project transformed Lion Vallen’s supply chain by applying Lean and Six Sigma principles and implementing technologies that allowed the company, among other things, to synchronize demand and inventory management with customers in real time. The project delivered $2.4 million in annual savings.

Accepting the award for Lion Vallen was Senior Vice President Terry Smith, who thanked his wife for her support and thanked his team for executing on ambitious goals without flinching.

Winners of the PM100 High Achiever Awards were manufacturers whose projects received the highest marks among projects reflecting mastery of a single Progressive Manufacturing discipline.

Saint-Gobain Sekurit’s Project Avenir was voted the High Achiever winner in the Data & Integration Mastery category. Saint-Gobain’s auto glass customers were asking the company to reduce prices by 6% while delivering 10% productivity improvements. Deciding it needed a radical change, the company implemented standard processes across 45 European plants, supported by new MES, warehouse management, and ERP systems. Saint-Gobain is now able to use standard product cost and KPI information to compare plants and further improve processes. Production costs have been reduced by up to 30% where the system has been deployed.

The Boeing Co.’s Product Standards As Digital Data initiative received the High Achiever Award in the Innovation Mastery category. With an eye on enabling a design-anywhere/build-anywhere business model, Boeing decided to standardize and digitize a massive volume of product data documents. The initiative transformed 100,000 documents to XML format using a vendor-agnostic catalog authoring tool. The initiative, which affected all active commercial, defense, and space hardware projects, saved Boeing $150 million in two years by delivering manufacturing quality improvements.

The High Achiever Award for Training & Education Mastery was won by The Mosaic Co. for its Workforce Training Initiative. Concerned that demographic trends would soon undermine the availability of employees with important skills, the producer of phosphate and potash materials took matters into its own hands, launching two apprenticeship programs with the help of Rockwell Automation, the Banner Center for Advanced Manufacturing, RWD Technologies, and Polk State College in Florida. In October, the company welcomed its first graduating class of 46. Another group of 25 is currently in training, with 16 following them.

General Motors was one of two companies that tied for the High Achiever Award in the highly competitive Operational Excellence Mastery category. In September 2008, even as the automotive market crashed, GM was looking ahead, launching an ambitious Production Monitoring and Control System in its castings, engines, and transmissions plants. The system, which collects standard machine state, fault/diagnostic, and performance data, allowed GM to improve throughput and quality. GM earned a patent for the project’s method and processes, which are saving the company millions per plant annually.

Itron Inc. was the co-winner of the Operational Excellence High Achiever Award for its OpenWay CENTRON Switch Metrology Automation Project. With demand from utility customers for its smart meters booming, Itron launched an aggressive automation project intended to take cost and cycle time out of production. Deploying an array of technologies including vision systems, touch-screen PLCs, real-time process control, six-axis robots, and networked testing, Itron realized annual labor savings of $1.43 million and capital equipment savings of $1.77 million.

Applied Materials Inc. was judged the High Achiever in the Supply Network Mastery category. With 400 suppliers and 30,000 orders in process at any given time, the semiconductor equipment maker needed to streamline how it communicated and collaborated with suppliers. The company’s eXtended Process Control project delivered a one-time savings of $22 million and recurring annual savings of $2.5 million.

The Customer Mastery category High Achiever winner was Hologic Inc., a maker of medical diagnostic and surgical equipment for women throughout the world. With a global field service staff of 400 to manage, Hologic decided to roll out a smartphone-based system that provides real-time updates on jobs, captures data on the duration of jobs, streamlines billing, and surfaces up-sell opportunities. The company’s International Field Service Automation Deployment project cut the time it takes technicians to close jobs by 80% and saved Hologic $600,000 in the first year.

c3controls was recognized as the High Achiever winner in the Business Model Mastery category. Seeking to set itself apart from rival makers of overload relays and other electrical control products, c3controls two years ago launched its Customer First initiative. The multi-part program was intended to make c3controls “ridiculously easy to do business with.” It worked. The company has seen a 27% increase in revenue and a 48% reduction in sales cycle time.

Steinwall Inc. received the High Achiever Award in the Leadership Mastery category. Steinwall’s Knowledge Management initiative uses Web-based training and orientation, iPad-based work instructions, cellphones, and lunchroom message boards to create a culture of worker empowerment. The result has been sustained performance gains, even through the recession. The injection-molding manufacturer has improved to 99.97% on-time delivery and 99.78% customer acceptance.

Winners of the PM100 Editors’ Choice Awards are manufacturers whose nominated projects captured the spirit of Progressive Manufacturing. These winners were selected by consensus among Manufacturing Enterprise Communications editors.

Florida Atlantic University was selected as one of two PM100 Editors’ Choice Award winners. The Boca Raton, FL, university created an Innovation and Leadership Honors program that brings students and industry together to collaborate and learn about sustainable smart building and machine-to-machine technologies. Centered on a new, 97,000-square-foot “living learning laboratory” building that is the first LEED-compliant academic structure in South Florida, the program allows students and industry to explore the use of M2M technologies to create and deliver a wide range of innovative smart building services.

The other Editors’ Choice Award winner is First Solar Inc., which sought to make itself more agile by deploying a wide range of smart-device-enabled mobile applications. To get there, the market leader in thin-film solar panel technology become one of the first manufacturers to implement a companywide Mobile Enterprise Application platform that enables the quick deployment and management of mobile apps. Users can now approve capital appropriation requests from their iPhones. And more apps are on the way, including safety auditing and CRM.

Winners of the PM Technology Partner awards provided technology that underpinned successful PM100 projects. They were Apriso, AT&T, Cisco Systems, IBM, Ice Edge Business Solutions, ILS Technology LLC, Infor, Intermec Inc., Invensys, IQMS, Kepware Technologies Inc., Logility Inc., Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle Corp., OSIsoft LLC, Plex Systems, QlikTech, PARTsolutions LLC, Research In Motion Ltd., Rockwell Software, SAP AG, Siemens PLM, TAKE Solutions, and VISEO.


Category: Summit 2011
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Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit



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