Taking Mistake Proofing beyond the Plant Floor

Donnelly’s Wagner leads workshop applying lean practice to all areas of business

Alexandria, MN (May 2, 2012) – Lean practices aren’t just for the manufacturing floor. They also can produce benefits – greater productivity, innovation and satisfaction – across all functional areas and among all employees, with the ultimate goal to provide greater customer satisfaction. And Sam Wagner, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at Donnelly Custom Manufacturing, is committed to showing companies the possibilities.

Wagner recently led a workshop focused on Mistake Proofing, a Lean technique that Donnelly has adopted to reduce human errors throughout its operations. Lifetouch Inc., a national photography product and service company based in Eden Prairie, Minn., sent employees from across North America for the training session, which was conducted in association with the Manufacturers Alliance, a peer-to-peer training organization for Midwest manufacturers.

“In addition to preventing errors, mistake proofing also serves to foster new ideas and innovation among employees, proving useful for all industries and roles,” said Wagner.

Wagner’s knowledge in training techniques has been valuable in establishing Donnelly, which specializes in short-run molding, as one of the lean practice leaders in the manufacturing industry. His method teams up employees in different functions and roles – for example a production manager with an IT professional – to tackle specific problems in their respective positions, from manufacturing to administrative to personnel.

The proven Mistake Proofing process, in combination with the fresh perspectives of people throughout a company, often results in effective new solutions that could not be formed by people working alone or in functional silos.

“Mistakes are a fact of life, and nothing will eliminate them completely. But Sam’s mistake proofing workshop was a step in the right direction,” said Karin Omae, Quality Engineering Manager at Lifetouch National School Studios. “Our participants left with a new appreciation and knowledge for preventative measures and an incentive to apply these techniques in our processes.”

Based in Alexandria, Minn., Donnelly’s 220 employees are dedicated to setting the standards in the custom injection-molding marketplace for “How Short Run Is Done.” The company’s focus is on providing its OEM customers with value added engineering and highly customized manufacturing and customer support services. A strong customer service orientation ensures outstanding customer satisfaction.