Fujirebio transforms operations through Lean Manufacturing Training with the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC)

Seguin, TX - Seguin’s very own leader in high quality invitro diagnostics (IVD) testing entered 2019 with an ultramodern facelift to their operations through Lean Manufacturing training. In early 2018, Fujirebio recognized there were certain areas of their operations that needed improvement and coincidentally that same month the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) came knocking on their door.   

“In years past what we have done before is to batch different stages of our process. We would spend the day getting ready and doing some assemblies in preparation for the next days work and so on,” said Kent Pruett, General Manager at Fujirebio Diagnostics. “When we were evaluating our efficiencies, it was coincidental that we received an email from TMAC on Lean Manufacturing Training and immediately I was interested.”

Lean manufacturing is a methodology that focuses on minimizing waste within manufacturing systems while simultaneously maximizing productivity. The benefits of lean include reduced lead times, reduced operating costs and improved product quality, to name just a few.

“Soon after discovering, we had TMAC come in to start Lean Training on all of our employees through a series of activities involving creating a certain amount of model airplanes with Lego blocks under a specific time frame. It wasn’t long that we discovered none of us could meet the required goal,” said Pruett. “We were having problems with over production of working process and issues with supply of inventory, we couldn’t get the right Legos, at the right time, at the right pace. That’s when we moved on to the Value Stream Mapping exercise which ended up being the answer to all our problems”

Value stream mapping is a lean management tool that helps visualize the steps needed to take a product or service from product creation to delivering it to the end-customer.

“Through the Value Stream Mapping exercise we were able to identify how to improve our process flow and out of all of that we decided to translate what we learned through our filling and packaging room.” said Pruett. “We remodeled the room by ripping out the walk-in cooler, put in all new tile, new paint, new LED lights and then rearranged our production line to reach the end goal, to make it one long process from beginning to end.”

“Our total direct labor hours charged to the project is expected to go down 25% less than what it was prior to these changes taking place and that number will grow in the future as we continue to make more changes,” Said Earlene Jarzombek, HR/Purchasing Director at Fujirebio.

At the heart of waste reduction and increased efficiency is undergoing a process of simplifying manufacturing tasks. Without a critical eye towards opportunities for simplification, manufacturing tasks throughout the process naturally grow inefficient and can lead to wasted time, wasted resources, inconsistent product quality, and several other negative outcomes. For many companies, all it takes to dramatically increase efficiency and reduce waste is a commitment to dive right in and a willingness to try new and creative ideas to find out what works best. Fujirebio took that leap.  ##