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Employee Training Strengthens Company-Wide Commitment to Lean

Industrial Resource Center: Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC)

Lycoming Engines, began in 1845 as the Demorest Manufacturing Company, producing sewing machines and bicycles in Williamsport, Pennsylvania The machinery always hinted at greater things to come. Becoming Lycoming Foundry and Machine Company in 1907, Lycoming developed automobile engines in a market driven by the needs of a nation at war. Inspired by Charles Lindberg trans-Atlantic flight, Lycoming began developing aviation aircraft engines. In 1929, the first Lycoming R-680, a 9-cylinder 200 hp piston-driven radial engine left the assembly line and established a new standard in general aviation. Still based in Williamsport, the company now has around 120 employees.

“Lycoming Engines has partnered with IMC for more than a decade. They have touched nearly all Lycoming Engines employees, both salary and hourly. IMC will continue to be an integrated part of our learning organization.”

Gary Naculich,
Senior Manager, Production

Situation

Lycoming Engines first partnered with the Innovative Manufacturers Center (IMC), part of the MEP National Network, in 2005, embarking on a Lean journey that trained hundreds of employees in the principles of Lean Manufacturing. The company was awarded the Shingo Bronze medallion in 2008 and the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence in 2010 for its efforts to transform the business into a globally competitive manufacturer known for its products, innovation, and customer service. Lycoming wanted to continue to provide training for its salaried and hourly employees to maintain a solid foundation in Lean. To meet this need, IMC provided another round of series of training sessions for the company.

Solution

The IMC training supported a “Lean mindset” among Lycoming employees, as they gained a deeper understanding and enthusiasm for Lean and Continuous Improvement efforts. First, IMC provided the case for Lean in today’s increasingly complex, competitive, and fast-changing marketplace. The training participants gained perspective on the value of Lean as an effective operational strategy.

Next, IMC emphasized common-sense understanding and drew on the knowledge and experience of the participants to improve their grasp of Lean concepts. They gained an understanding of the purpose of the tools and methods, and how they fit together to form a system that supports day-to-day improvement in all aspects of the operation. Finally, IMC followed up with hands-on simulations to help Lycoming employees apply their learning.

Results

The investment in employee skills provided a return for Lycoming many times the cost of the training, as the company increased sales, added jobs, and realized cost savings. The training participants developed a sense of personal responsibility to perform work according to standards. They are committed to Continuous Improvement and attuned to how individual and team efforts can reduce and eliminate waste and increase value throughout the enterprise.

  • $300,000 in increased and/or retained sales
  • 4 new or retained jobs
  • $200,000 in cost savings
  • $40,000 in new investment
  • Over 100 employees trained during three month project