MFCS Saegertown has been awarded a significant cold formed and machined product program with a global vehicle manufacturer. To support this program, a multitude of new CNC cells will be purchased. Each cell consists of a feeder system, CNC, auto gauge, and other equipment. Integration is critical given that a different supplier builds each of these four different types of equipment.

Over the past year, the Saegertown culture has continued to evolve. Saegertown is moving forward aggressively with their lean journey, and this program is a huge opportunity to implement lean the right way.

In that spirit, Saegertown conducted a first ever event for MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions (MFCS). A 4-day machine design kaizen was conducted in partnership with the Metform team and was held on site in Savanna, Illinois at Metform.

Developing a World Class Machining Cell
The event focused on applying lean concepts and lessons learned from the experienced Metform team to develop a world-class machining cell. The cross-functional team consisted of engineering, operational transformation, quality, maintenance, operators, industrial engineering, program management and equipment suppliers. Every team member had completed Lean Basic as a prerequisite to the kaizen.

After a very detailed review of the current Metform gear machining process, which accumulated 8 hours of detailed study observation, the team was divided into groups. Each group was responsible for designing a particular area of the cell in coordination with the other groups. Each group developed 7 alternative designs and then applied layout evaluation criteria to quantitatively identify the best design.

To design the best machine, a true understanding and real life simulation was needed. To do this, the team built a complete life size cell out of cardboard and wood. Metform operator involvement and input was essential. Every detail was reviewed and discussed; everything from how the parts would feed from one machine to another, where tools should be placed, to where visual standardized work needs to be posted. The level of detail was truly remarkable and it resulted in hundreds of improvements.

After individual cells were built, the team went back to the drawing board. They broke into groups and each developed 7 different cell layout configuration alternatives. By applying a quantitative cell layout evaluation, the top 3 layout proposals were chosen.

The event was truly transformational on many fronts. Different MFCS plants came together and used all their knowledge and experience. Equipment suppliers participated all week, and were trained on lean concepts before the kaizen and some even attended Lean Basic. Extending MFCS’ continuous improvement methodology to the supply base is truly ground breaking. Not only will it help ensure a smooth launch, but it will also help to establish mutually beneficial relationships in the future.

In the end, the event was a success because of the people who work hard all week. The incredible teamwork that was shown between Saegertown and Metform is a true reflection of the changing MFCS culture.

Discussion by the cross-functional team.

Team members focus on applying lean concepts and lessons learned to develop a world-class machining cell.

Building the life size cell out of cardboard and wood.