Aurubis executives posing for a picture.

The Buffalo, NY, plant of Aurubis manufactures large coils of copper and brass in strip form as part of the international company’s lineup of metal fabrication, component manufacturing and related engineering and design services. A corporate Lean approach had already been in place when, in 2004, a Six Sigma presentation by TCIE exposed the company to a different way of reducing waste and increasing yields. Since then the Buffalo site has increasingly embraced Six Sigma to strengthen the company’s continuous improvement culture.

The Approach

  • Trained 75 employees from across the plant in varying degrees of Six Sigma mastery, including Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt and Master Black Belt
  • Improved project outcomes via mentoring assistance from a Master Black Belt
  • Educated 35 employees in Minitab Statistical Software to manipulate data and solve problems
  • Guided 20 executive staff and manufacturing directors toward becoming “change agents” through Certified Change Management Professional training

The Impact

  • Earned a champions award, taking top merits in the quality improvement category among the company’s 36 production facilities worldwide
  • Saved $2 million per year by virtually eliminating a defect in the company’s most profitable alloy
  • Strengthened the corporate-wide Lean focus by tapping into Six Sigma’s emphasis on sustaining gains using the control phase of DMAIC
  • Instilled a data-driven, statistical analysis foundation
  • Jumpstarted process change by pursuing a high-performance work team approach