On Wednesday January 30th, 23 Oakland University engineering, business and human resource development students headed over to MacLean-Fogg’s Royal Oak facility for an afternoon of learning. Royal Oak personnel prepared and facilitated a multi-faceted learning experience.

Students were divided into three groups. A forty-five minute presentation explained key products, fastener components and equipment/core processes. Customer segments were presented including an explanation of how customers make up the customer base. As one presenter stated, “Continuous innovation ensures our leadership in decorative wheel fastening solutions through stainless steel caps, patented improved wrenching design, patented interference fit design, patented cap attachment-crimp design and decoupling the decorative cap from the nut.”

Three process flows were detailed to enhance each student’s understanding of the plant: nut and bolt production flow; CAP production flow; and nut, bolt and cap final assembly production flow.

Several students commented, “Assembly is fascinating to watch,” as they took a tour of the plant. The plant layout was visually explained prior to going to the gemba, creating a solid foundation for questions.

In business, gemba refers to the place where value is created; in manufacturing, the gemba is the factory floor.

Each student was reminded of the importance of safety as well as required to wear full PPE out on the plant floor. Ear protection also allowed for the students to hear the dissemination of information clearly. Afterwards, students were asked to write a paper on the Lean concepts that they observed. Several students verbalized how visual Lean occurred both in the plant and in the office.

The Royal Oak OT team taught the students about the MacLean Lean House with each section defined and explained in relation to where Royal Oak is on the Lean journey. A Lego game stressing the importance of visual standards was played by the students kinesthetically teaching them the concepts. The Continuous Improvement Process was described using Lean terminology and concepts that support the journey.

It was a successful day for the Oakland University students. Much gratitude was extended to MacLean-Fogg for opening the Royal Oak facility so that young minds can take academic concepts and see them in “real life.” MacLean-Fogg is a company that truly lives its values.

Students had much to learn from Royal Oak professionals.