With the help of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West (The Center-West), a Michigan manufacturing company is now investing in new employee development.

Fleet Engineers is a small, privately held manufacturing company located in Muskegon, Michigan for 54 years. The company’s 145 employees produce a wide variety of products for heavy truck and trailer markets in North America. Their products vary from light to heavy stampings, large injection molded parts, wood fabrication, weldments, roll-forming, tube fabrications and various light assembly items. Fleet Engineers operates three production facilities and one warehouse on their campus and the total square footage between the four facilities totals 280,000 sq. ft.

THE CHALLENGE

Part of Fleet Engineers’ sales growth strategy included acquisitions of smaller, complementary companies that fit within the product scope of their current portfolio in the heavy truck market.

In December 2015, Fleet Engineers acquired Save-A-Load Company located in Charlotte, North Carolina, a manufacturer of cargo load bar systems. They moved the company from North Carolina to Muskegon in June of 2017 and needed to hire, train, and certify a new production work force.

Fleet Engineers reached out to The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center – West (The Center-West) for help and assistance in identifying resources that could help them in this new employee development.

THE SOLUTION

Leveraging The Center’s experience in employee training and development, Fleet Engineers connected with the Ground Zero Workshop that introduced all the employees to a Lean transformation strategy. They also spent time receiving on-site training and working with the new production work force, helping them develop standard operation practices with work instructions, set-up instructions, development and use of visual management boards, plant team suggestion system, safety recording system, continuous improvement, and root cause development training.

Through this process, Fleet Engineers was able to get their production team at the load bar plant trained and following standard work practices that were consistent and also improved operational output over what was formerly performed in North Carolina.

RESULTS

Fleet Engineers are already experiencing a return on their new employee development investment. Specific area of improvement include:

• An overall 16% increase in daily production of hydraulic units.
• Tube fabrication productivity increased 10%.
• The establishment of standardized production processes and set-up instructions for current and future training of employees.
• The completion of 5S training has reduced the amount of time spent locating tools and components.
• The total productivity output gain in the department is the equivalent of 1.12 man hours per day per employee.


For more information on The Center-West and how they can help your company, contact The Center team at thecenter@rightplace.org.