Integer employees standing at a whiteboard.

The Orchard Park, NY, site of global medical device manufacturer Viant once had a pack-it-in approach to making operational improvements. Teams of employees assembled for five days, got to work making changes, and abandoned half-baked projects when the week was over. But a corporate-wide effort to apply the Lean methodology of reducing waste – as a standard practice – triggered Buffalo facility leaders to reset their strategy. Training and guidance from UB TCIE is helping to instill a culture of continuous improvement where initiatives don’t have an assigned end date and all are encouraged to challenge the status quo. A select group of employees has received in-depth training to become the leaders of loosening capacity restraints. Their energy and accomplishments, coupled with the incentive that successfully completing TCIE’s Certified Lean Professional (CLP) program is required for promotion, have created a wait list of employees who are eager to learn tools to support the company’s production goals.

The Approach

  • Calibrated the site’s 220+ employees to detect waste in everyday functions and serve cross-functional improvement teams through a foundational course
  • Equipped two dozen employees, spanning all departments, with Lean tools from the CLP course
  • Enhanced the ability to meet statistical and engineering product demands by providing data-intense education to more than 40 employees, via the scientific rigor of Six Sigma and Minitab
  • Regularly receive a different perspective, provided by a TCIE Lean Executive-on-Loan, in examining issues and determining solutions

The Impact

  • Boosted throughput of a surgical product by 16 percent by identifying power fluctuations as the culprit for machine downtime
  • Developed a more welcoming onboarding process for new hires to combat turnover, which provides greater support and clearer expectations, and streamlines human resource functions across Viant
  • Raised accountability for completing initiatives by posting task-related prompts throughout the facility
  • Gained greater trust and enthusiasm from employees by instituting a closed-loop process of every suggestion receiving an evaluation and response from leadership