Page 39 - MetalForming-Aug-2018-issue
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Growing and Engaging People
Every Day in Lean
Cambridge Engineering chair and CEO, John Kramer Jr., addresses a benchmarking tour group. Since 2015, Cambridge Engineering has hosted more than 200 companies.
 Leader learns to get out of the way as Cambridge Engineering advances.
Known for its heating and venti- lation products and strong fam- ily culture, Cambridge Engi- neering, Inc. is reaping the benefits of its lean journey. However, like with most company-altering strategies, adjustments were necessary in order for lean to take hold at the Chesterfield, MO-based manufacturer.
When John Kramer Jr., chair and CEO, recognized lean as a logical next step for Cambridge Engineering 10 years ago, experts advised starting with 5S improvement projects, training workforce on Japanese terms, and then
adding a host of metrics and white boards—adding to the mix of daily pri- orities. It was top-down driven and tol- erated, not embraced, by the compa- ny’s 120 employees.
“There were too many metrics, and there was too much focus on cost rather than on people,” Kramer notes. “Our busy season (fall through January) would hit, and I would tell my people to stop improvements and ship prod- ucts. All of our lean principles would go out the window, as people did not have time to make improvements. Although I had a glimpse of the vision
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