This September marks five years since Ace Metal Crafts Company began its journey toward constant improvement and the 25th anniversary of Toyota’s TSSC - the Toyota Production System Support Center - a driving partner in the success of ACE’s efforts.
Angela Pitzo, ACE Value Stream Leader and Keith Stout, ACE VP of Operations, recently attended TSSC’s 25th anniversary celebration in Dallas, Texas and came away with not only a deeper understanding of how the Toyota Effect has changed their business, but how it’s affecting so many other people, companies and industries in such a profound way.
The Toyota Effect
Helping to create a positive impact on people, society and the environment - is how Toyota begins the process of describing their ongoing efforts to apply their knowledge and systems toward solving problems that include, but go well beyond, manufacturing.
116 Innovators with a vision for growth
In the 2015 video, 116 Innovators, the ACE team is shown learning and using the Toyota Production System (TPS) to improve workflow, operating efficiencies and order fulfillment. Beyond the initial goal of sustaining a competitive edge, ACE has grown their business - adding 20 new people to the workforce in the first year of TSSC - and continues to apply the principles on a daily basis.
“TPS’ problem-solving system gives you the tools to dig in to your business,” said Angela Pitzo, “an inch wide and a mile deep, to find the next set of problems - continuing what should be a constant search for improvement.”
“The Toyota Production System can, at times, seem overwhelming when you’re uncovering problems, big and small, but the process and the 8-step problem solving tools help keep you grounded and moving forward.”
“We’ve been working with Toyota for five years now,” said Ms. Pitzo, “and we continue to see improvements. We’re working on improving the ‘Up-Front’ Processing part of our business now, learning how to increase the velocity of work as it moves from the laser to welding. Small, incremental changes are leading to reduced inventories and decreased production time - a win all around.”
A different type of vision…
Angela and Keith joined many others at the celebration, whose organizations had seen significant improvement, by implementing the Toyota Production System, including some from the team from the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Eye Clinic.
In the video, Saving Sight, doctors from the clinic implement the TPS, with an initial degree of skepticism, as to how a manufacturing system could help nurses, doctors and the administration treat patients more quickly and efficiently.
All you need to know about this video is a quote that comes from a Harbor-UCLA Medical Center doctor about 4 minutes in: “I never thought that implementing the Toyota Production System would help save lives or keep people from going blind. But it has.”
So much done - so much more to achieve…
From meeting the Director of Food Bank for NY whose organization used TPS to deliver more food, faster to those in need - to meeting with the team from St. Bernard Project, whose mission of rebuilding homes in areas hit by natural disasters, Keith and Angela came away from the celebration with a recharged sense of what the TPS has done and can do for ACE and so many others.
“Its all about improving people’s lives and the TPS has helped ACE tremendously,” said Keith Stout, “and it was great to see and meet others whose lives have been improved and impacted in such a good way.”