There’s Always a Better Way: Lean Manufacturing at Winchester Spring

As one of our core values, Continuous Improvement affects everything we do at Leggett & Platt. According to CEO Karl Glassman, “The potential for ingenuity is present in every business unit, facility, and position here at Leggett & Platt. We’re all counting on one another to keep improving and keep looking for a better way.”

For the team at Winchester Spring, finding a better way has certainly paid off.

Starting a Lean Pilot Program

Several years ago, the Bedding Group recognized a need to improve our competitive position, increase profits, and retain valuable employees. Eric Rhea, President  of the Bedding Group, proposed an initiative for a lean pilot program, and Winchester Spring in Winchester, Kentucky volunteered to be the first to participate.

Chuck Denisio

According to Chuck Denisio, Branch Manager, “The idea of implementing lean tools really complemented everything we’d been trying to accomplish at Winchester. I raised my hand because I wanted to get in at the ground floor of something new and exciting.”

Howard DeCelis, Staff VP of Continuous Improvement, was charged with starting the lean program at Winchester Spring. A lean program, just one of many continuous improvement methods, is the systematic process of identifying and eliminating waste. So, in 2016, a cross-functional Corporate team and a small team at Winchester began to do just that.

After overview training and employing basic tools and principles, they found numerous areas of opportunity. Howard admits, “We quickly learned that we exposed more problems than we had resources to address them.”

Numerous Projects = Numerous Cost Savings

One early success was a project involving the setup of new, complex, and expensive PA494 machines, which produce the Quantum Edge Comfort Core mattress. A team led by Brian Hill, Caleb Winburn, and Richard Trent underwent a four-day process of observation and analysis to determine how to save time with machine setup.

They utilized a lean tool called a SMED (Single-Minute Exchange of Dies), which is a system for drastically reducing the time it takes to complete equipment changeovers. The result of the SMED was a 67% reduction in hours worked to set up the machines, which added additional production capacity due to reduced time performing changeovers.

The SMED team for the PA494 project.

Another recent win came after the branch had received customer complaints about mis-tagged mattresses. As part of the lean program, Howard sent a team for a Rapid Continuous Improvement (RCI) event, which is a 4-day workshop of intense focus. They analyzed step-by-step how the products moved through the tagging process. “We looked at man, machine, materials and method,” says Howard, “and we brainstormed every possibility that could go wrong with correctly tagging the product, then targeted and eliminated those possibilities.”

The result was a huge win. Since “mistake-proofing” the tagging process, the branch hasn’t received any additional complaints.

The team at Winchester hopes for more success stories to come. “This lean program has been so good for our branch,” says Chuck. “The opportunities for future improvement are endless, and that’s been my drive. Change is not optional. If you don’t change and you don’t improve, you’ll get left behind.”

Everyday Leggett Life in Cologne, Germany

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“As a Sales Rep, I get to visit our Kintec-Solutions company in Reitberg, Germany. During a recent trip, I traveled to nearby Cologne and saw the Hohenzollern Bridge. You might notice the Cologne Cathedral in the background!” Patrick Third, Sales Representative for International Home Furniture Components. [Cologne, Germany]

Patrick Third 1

“The  Hohenzollern Bridge crosses the River Rhine. I discovered it during a morning jog!” Patrick Third, Sales Representative for International Home Furniture Components. [Cologne, Germany]

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“The bridge holds thousands of ‘love locks’ from its visitors. Pretty cool!” Patrick Third, Sales Representative for International Home Furniture Components. [Cologne, Germany]

 

New Year, New Perspectives – Mackenzie Keller

It’s a new year, folks, and we’ve got some new faces at L&P! During the past several weeks, we’ve been introducing you to several of our recent hires and their thoughts on the year ahead.

Last but certainly not least, meet Mackenzie Keller, Staff Accountant for L&P. She started with us in October.

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What brought you to Leggett?
I studied at Pittsburg State University and also worked full-time, but I wanted to grow with my career. During my job search, I prioritized companies that would offer room for advancement, and Leggett & Platt seemed like a great fit!

What’s something surprising about you?
I love to be outdoors. I live on quite a few acres of land, so I just generally enjoy being outside. I’m also a hunter (although my family would call me a fair-weather hunter) and enjoy bowhunting.

What’s your biggest goal for 2018?
I’m working on my Master’s degree and plan to graduate this spring! The end is in sight. In my position with L&P, I help support about 40 branch locations, so I’d really like to get to know them better. I plan to meet with a few branch controllers later this year to make progress on that goal.

New Year, New Perspectives – Linna Lee

It’s a new year, folks, and we’ve got some new faces at L&P! During the past several weeks, we’ve been introducing you to several of our recent hires and their thoughts on the year ahead.

Meet Linna Lee, Staff Accountant for L&P. She started with us in December.

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What brought you to Leggett?
I studied at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri and wanted to find a place to work that was close to home. During my internship, Leggett & Platt was mentioned to me as a family-oriented environment and great place to work. I knew I had to check it out. My first day at Leggett was right after I graduated from college!

What’s something surprising about you?
I come from a large family – I have 10 siblings! You can probably imagine that when we all get together, we have lots of laughs and good times. I’m also the second one in my family to have graduated with my bachelor’s degree.

What’s your biggest goal for 2018?
I’m working to obtain my CMA certification this year. Luckily, I still have good study habits from being a student!

New Year, New Perspectives – Tyler Little

It’s a new year, folks, and we’ve got some new faces at L&P! During the past few weeks, we’ve been introducing you to several of our recent hires and their thoughts on the year ahead.

Last but not least, meet Tyler Little, Shop Technician at Leggett & Platt. He started with us in November.

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What brought you to Leggett?
A friend referred me to Leggett. I grew up on a farm and previously worked in a warehouse that got down to -10° F. I was looking for a new position with better hours and stability. At Leggett, I assemble adjustable bed prototypes and I’m really enjoying it.

What’s something surprising about you?
I am an avid hunter and fisherman. My biggest catch was a 9-pound bass and my favorite places to fish are strip pits around the area.

What’s your biggest goal for 2018?
My job at Leggett affords me a more consistent work schedule, so I’m really wanting to spend more time with my three kids in the new year. They are very involved in sports and activities, and I’m looking forward to cheering them on. My 7-year-old daughter just received first place in her gymnastics meet and I am a proud dad!

New Year, New Perspectives – Brittany Meehl

It’s a new year, folks, and we’ve got some new faces at L&P! During the past several weeks, we’ve been introducing you to several of our recent hires and their thoughts on the year ahead.

Meet Brittany Meehl, International Account Coordinator for our Creative Services team. She started with us in October.

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What brought you to Leggett?
In college, I studied International Business, so I’ve pursued a career with an international focus. I also wanted to travel for my job. Luckily, I found both at L&P! As International Account Coordinator, I am the liaison between our clients around the world and our marketing staff here at Creative Services.

What’s something surprising about you?
I studied abroad twice during college. I spent one semester in Switzerland and a summer in Ghana. Both experiences were amazing! While I was in Ghana, I took a business course relating to underdeveloped countries and completed a service project working with schoolchildren.

What’s your biggest goal for 2018?
For work, I want to take everything in and learn as much as possible. Since this is my first career out of college, I’m learning everything I possibly can to start building my skills as a professional. In my free time, my biggest goal is to get back into practicing yoga!

New Year, New Perspectives – Ashly Keene

It’s a new year, folks, and we’ve got some new faces at L&P! During the past few weeks, we’ve been introducing you to several of our recent hires and their thoughts on the year ahead.

Meet Ashly Keene, Benefit Analyst in Human Resources at L&P.

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What brought you to Leggett?
I have many friends and family who work here — including my husband! I’ve heard nothing but good things about the company. When a position opened up in my field, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity. Leggett is such a great company in our community and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

What’s something surprising about you?
I have two daughters: Keegan is 7 years old and Claire is 2 years old. My oldest has always wanted to be a cheerleader; however, her elementary school has not had cheerleading as an option in a few years. Since I was a cheerleader throughout my entire school career and always wanted to be a coach, I took on the role as Youth Cheerleading Director. I also took on the role as PTO President at her elementary school last year. Both have been great experiences for me!

What’s your biggest goal for 2018?
As an employee, my biggest goal is to be trained as fast as possible. A coworker is going on maternity leave in a few months and I would like to be prepared to take on as much as I can while she’s on leave! My personal goal for 2018 is to work on organization – both as it relates to my community volunteering and being a wife and mother.

New Year, New Perspectives – Romeo Adjam

It’s a new year, folks, and we’ve got some new faces at L&P! During the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing you to several of our recent hires and their thoughts on the year ahead.

Meet Romeo Adjam, IT Specialist for the Consumer Products Group. He started with us in October.

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What brought you to Leggett?
Prior to Leggett, I had been working on IT projects in the retail field. I moved to Arkansas for my last position, and I heard about Leggett after working so closely to Leggett’s Corporate Headquarters. I quickly became intrigued by Leggett’s broad scope of products, customers, and industries.

What’s something surprising about you?
Although I was born in Germany, I grew up in West Africa and then studied in France. I speak English, French, my native language Ewe, and I’m learning Spanish too!

What’s your biggest goal for 2018?
For me, it’s two-fold: At work, I want to build relationships and learn the ropes of the business. In my free time, I’m a marathoner and would like to gain speed in long-distance races. In 2016, I had a goal to run 16 races. In 2017, I had a goal to run 17 but I ended up running 18. This year, I’m focusing on speed instead!

New Year, New Perspectives – Kathy Flinn

It’s a new year, folks, and we’ve got some new faces at L&P! During the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing you to several of our recent hires and their thoughts on the year ahead.

Meet Kathy Flinn, Internal Auditor II at Leggett & Platt. She started with us in November.

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What brought you to Leggett?
Prior to Leggett, I worked as the Finance Director for a non-profit organization. This position was a new and exciting opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. I had applied at Leggett several years ago as well, and I’ve been intrigued by the company ever since.

What’s something surprising about you?
I have two sons and three grandchildren. My granddaughter is nonverbal, so we’re all learning sign language to communicate with her. We’re taking it in little bits at a time. In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband. We recently went to Hawaii, which was my favorite vacation by far.

What’s your biggest goal for 2018?
With only a month under my belt, I’m eager to learn more about Leggett! I had no idea the scope of the company, and I still feel like I have a lot to learn. I also want to be the best support I can be for the Internal Audit team as I start to travel to different branches for audit trips in 2018.

New Year, New Perspectives – Tony Robyn

It’s a new year, folks, and we’ve got some new faces at L&P! During the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing you to several of our recent hires and their thoughts on the year ahead.

Meet Tony Robyn, Sales Program Manager for the Consumer Products Group. He started with us in September.

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What brought you to Leggett?
I worked within the environmental field in project management for over 20 years, but I was ready for something a little different. Now I’m working with adjustable beds; how’s that for a change?

I know a few people who work for L&P and had always heard great things about the company. Also, when I worked for a national environmental non-profit, I approached L&P to be a community advocate for one of my bigger projects. The company was very receptive and supportive, and I never forgot that.

What’s something surprising about you?
My career history is pretty diverse. I have a degree in Natural Sciences, then later studied Business Administration. My project management and environmental experience comes from working for organizations such as the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, the Kansas City Zoo, the National Audubon Society, and the City of Joplin.

What’s your biggest goal for 2018?
Since I started at L&P, I’ve picked up multiple projects, but all at different points in the development cycle. In 2018, I’d like to own a project from the very beginning – from design and development until the Las Vegas Market (a tradeshow where we showcase many of our products).