Essex Champions Lean Six Sigma Transformation

By on September 16, 2013
Essex Champions Lean Six Sigma Transformation

Essex Industries is a leading supplier to the aerospace, defense, first response and medical markets. Founded in 1947, the company was started by Harold and Sidney Guller in their father’s basement and since grown to four facilities, with over 180,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 350 employees.

The Gullers entered the Aerospace and Defense market with their first product, an F-214 Radio Noise Filter. Over the past sixty-five years, the product range has grown to include Life Support Equipment, Ground Support Equipment, Platform Controls and Aircraft Components. As a result, Essex Industries has been a part of virtually every major military and commercial aerospace program since 1947.

Recently Essex launched their on-site Lean Six Sigma program, designed to lower costs, improve production quality and increase employee involvement, by conducting training sessions for members of production, quality and manufacturing staff.

Lean Six Sigma combines two management philosophies into a single strategy-Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma.

Lean manufacturing, brought to maturity by Toyota and based upon manufacturing principles developed in the early 20th Century by Henry Ford, improves productivity by systematically eliminating of all forms of waste through the use of a variety of Lean processes.

Developed by Motorola during the 1980s, Six Sigma aims to continuously improve production or service methods by eliminating variation in business processes.

Lean Six Sigma uses martial arts hierarchy to identify levels of expertise in the program methodology. In the initial Essex training classes, employees participated in belt designations as follows:

  • Black belt certification training for manager of manufacturing engineering and quality managers
  • Green belt certification training for manufacturing engineers, quality engineers and quality supervisors
  • Yellow belt certification training for production management staff

Mr. Chuck Steele, Lean Manufacturing Coordinator, is the Lean Six Sigma Champion for Essex. As a Master Black Belt, Chuck has been the resource for everyone going through the program. He also will lead the project work identified in the training that will benefit both Essex and our customers.

“I am very proud of the work that the Black, Green and Yellow Belt groups mastered. The training is rigorous. Topics included some unique approaches that challenged students to think about their work, including a more rigorous application of statistics to better assist them in making decisions. Teamwork was essential during their culminating Capstone project, often forcing them to apply their knowledge on service processes when they were used to only looking at manufacturing processes. Often they had to stretch and they were great,” shared Pat Dalton, a certified Black Belt and instructor for the Workforce Solutions Group who facilitated the blended Lean Six Sigma belt designation training for Essex. The training combined on-line coursework, facilitated classroom discussions and a Capstone project. The Capstone project was a team approach for the Green and Black Belt candidates to accelerate the completion of their respective training in a timely manner.

When this single strategy is successful companies go through a transformation and have lower overall costs, improved quality, efficient production and significant employee engagement.

To find out more about this successful program or to discuss designing a customized program to fit your company’s needs contact Pat Tuttle or by phone at 314-539-5324.

About Pat Tuttle

Pat has been a Project Manager with STLCC, WSG, Corporate Services since 1991. As a technical writer she has worked with many companies to enhance the production processes and manufacturing outcomes. Working with many companies in the St. Louis Metropolitan assisting in them satisfying their business goals through managing training and consulting services projects. Pat has been working closely with manufacturing companies in Lean Manufacturing, Industrial Maintenance, and ISO related training projects.

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