Purdue center offers targeted training for manufacturers

January 31, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University's Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center is offering Indiana companies individualized training targeted to their manufacturing needs.

Manufacturer-specific training was used most recently to teach lean manufacturing techniques to suppliers for Honda's Midwest operations.

 Honda uses lean manufacturing techniques in its operations and recognized the benefits of suppliers participating in lean introduction workshops. Working together, MEP centers in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky held Lean 101 workshops in their areas.

Purdue MEP, a part of the Technical Assistance Program, provided a one-day, filled-to-capacity workshop for 42 employees from 22 Honda suppliers. Through the hands-on training, participants could experience the productivity and profitability gains that companies can achieve by applying lean manufacturing techniques.

The day began with an introductory lecture followed by an assignment to manufacture an electronic circuit board using traditional methods. Participants returned to the lecture hall to discuss the experience and learn about basic lean manufacturing principles. They then reconfigured the process using lean principles. The day included two more simulations that prepared participants to take the lessons learned back to their own manufacturing environments to benefit their companies and Honda.

"This was a very good start," said Roy Fraker, who heads the initiative through Honda's Supplier Support Team. "We were pleased to see all these sessions filled and appreciate the partnership with Purdue University to help strengthen manufacturing in this region. Additional MEP workshops will be scheduled in the future."

Dave Snow, director of Purdue's MEP, said similar programs can be developed for other Indiana manufacturers to train their own employees or, as in Honda's case, their suppliers.

"While we continue to offer workshops and seminars open to employees from any Indiana company, we also see the benefit of targeted training. Our partnership with Honda reinforces the relevancy of these best practices events and their adoption," he said.

For more information on Purdue MEP's lean training in Indiana, call 800-877-5182 or e-mail tapmep@purdue.edu.

Lean manufacturing workshops open to the public are scheduled for this spring in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. Details on those workshops can be found at http://www.mep.purdue.edu/events

MEP provides technical skills development and implementation services to manufacturers that want to increase productivity and profitability, enhance customer satisfaction and advance work force skills. Areas of expertise include advanced manufacturing processes, lean implementation, quality management systems, Six Sigma, green enterprise development and energy efficiency. 

Writer:  Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu  

Source:  Dave Snow, 317-275-6811, davesnow@purdue.edu