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John Civerolo

The Dayco Industrial Division, a Mark IV company, has plants in Alliance, Nebraska and Ft. Scott, Kansas. Their products (a variety of belts and hoses) are sold to both industrial OEMs and to distributors of industrial replacement products. These two plants had already achieved the Partners for Excellence Supply Chain Management/Manufacturing Resource Planning Class A award and were now faced with major decisions:

  • Where do we go from here?
  • Should we raise the high bar of excellence?
  • What should we do next?
  • Can we take a breather and enjoy some time off?

With the pressures of both domestic and international competition and customers raising the high bar of excellence, both plants decided to move towardManufacturing Excellence through Continuous Improvement. Both wanted to set the competitive pace themselves and not be forced to improve or react to competitive pressure. They mapped out a Path Forward to:

  • Significantly improve process productivity.
  • Attack and reduce non-value-adding activities in:

Setup/changeover time
Equipment downtime
Scrap and rework

  • Simplify the manufacturing processes by:

Reducing paperwork

Implementing visual controls, color coded production floor schedules, visual performance boards and visual Kanbans

Synchronizing and balancing the production floor work centers and schedules

  • Manage, control and significantly reduce work-in-process (queues)

Rather than setting easily attained or wimpy improvement goals of 2% to 3%, they set "stretch" (realistic and achievable) improvement and reduction goals of 10% to 30%.

The results and bottom line improvements were outstanding. Some examples are shown below.

Type of Improvement Results @ Fort Scott Plant Results @ Alliance Plant
Total inventory (finished goods, WIP and raw materials) reductions 11% 19%
Manufacturing cycle time reduction from 25 days to 10 days - 60% from 23 days to 6 days - 74%
Monthly capacity increase 10% 13%
Productivity Improvements - units per person 22% 37%
Total cost reductions $581,000 $1,848,800
Sales increases 13% 44%
Production floor paperwork reduction 75% 75%
  (By implementing a color code scheduling system and visual controls)
Customer satisfaction The cost, inventory and cycle times were reduced while maintaining consistent customer service over 97% and excellent product quality.

Are Manufacturing Excellence and Continuos Improvement worth the effort? Absolutely! The results and benefits speak for themselves.

How were they able to achieve outstanding results and bottom line performance regarding these improvements and goals?

They enlisted the help and involvement of their most important and key asset, their people! These Dayco Industrial Division plants explained to their people why Manufacturing Excellence and Continuos Improvement were extremely important in meeting the demands of the customer and marketplace in a flexible, dynamic and agile manufacturing environment.

They answered three key questions:

  • What's in it for the customer?
  • What's in it for Dayco?
  • What's in it for me (the employee)?

They formed cross functional action teams for delivery, speed and flexibility; process productivity; and cost. These action teams used what Dayco called Manufacturing for Continuos Improvement (MFCI) which uses the problem-solving tools (brainstorming, Pareto analysis, root cause analysis, cause and effect diagrams, etc.) to discover problems and get to the root causes of the problems. Once the root causes were known, the teams implemented corrective actions in a timely manner. Both plants' philosophy is "Where the Best Just Keeps Getting Better."

Lessons Learned:

  1. Provide a clear vision of the objectives to all their people by answering the three key education questions.
  2. Involve the process owners from the start.
  3. Delegate responsibility and authority to the process owners and they will take ownership for achieving the results.
  4. Improve communication to the employees through education and monthly plant meetings that review the business objectives and performance. Weekly departmental meeting covered schedules, quality awareness. productivity improvement, cost reductions, customer satisfaction, etc.
  5. Improve teamwork by implementing cross-functional teams with specific objectives toward cost, delivery, flexibility, and customer satisfaction.
  6. Solve the root causes of the problems by implementing the corrective actions suggested by the action teams.







If you have specific questions about this article or want to discuss, call Chris Gray @ 1 603 778-9211.   


The Partners for Excellence specialize in helping companies set up comprehensive measurement programs and improving overall resource management performance.  Contact us at 1 603 528-0840 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..