Bob Ruehl has spent the last four to five years assisting Elgin, Ill.-based Hansen Plastics Corp. on its lean journey, helping to kick off its four disciplines of execution (4DX) plan, launch its Hoshin Kanri process and develop its culture plan.
Ruehl said his days are "slightly programmed." He and CEO Roy Lilly do a Gemba walk — a lean management concept that emphasizes observation and processes — every day through the different value streams on the floor. He also has touchpoints with accounts payable, accounts receivable, the training coordinator and the logistics manager.
"Prior to embracing the Hoshin Kanri, we would have our annual strategy meeting and talk about forecasting sales, capital planning and what we wanted to do, but I think the Hoshin Kanri process itself probably crystallized it a little better for us," Ruehl said about the method to ensure strategic goals are aligned, communicated and placed into action. "It put a little more intense focus on it. We started to look at very specific metrics that we thought were important to our value streams, so we got into one- to two-year goals based on it, then we started tracking the activity based on these metrics."
HPC is an injection molder that serves more than 25 different markets, including automotive, appliance, water treatment, life safety and construction. It has more than 70 presses on-site, ranging from 28-500 tons.
The company started using the 4DX concept, which focuses on achieving "wildly important goals," acting on lead measures, keeping a compelling scoreboard and creating a cadence of accountability, and Ruehl and HPC President Tim Bayer meet weekly with the facilitators of the 4DX process.
"This is actual items we're going to undertake to get better, and I think everybody really appreciates that because it's the team environment and you're rooting for each other and you can't help but want to succeed at it," he said. "That's kind of how the Hoshin and 4DX came together for us."