Awards Announcement: Lean Best Practice Award

The Lean Division of IIE completed its third industry best practice award in May 2013. This award recognized organizations for their innovative and effective implementation of Lean principles and practices that delivered exemplary business performance improvement. The Lean Best Practice Award 2013 was a great success.

The evaluation criteria stipulates that the lean implementation should:

  1. Be innovative.
  2. Have clear measurable performance objectives that were met.
  3. Be simple and straightforward.
  4. Use lean tools and techniques.
  5. Derive significant and measurable outcomes such as cost reduction, lead time reduction, quality improvement, safety improvement, etc.
  6. Be sustainable.
  7. Finally, the quality of the presentation is excellent including problem statement, clear descriptions, and metrics with visuals. 

There were twelve submissions for this award and two of them were from overseas. Based on pre-screening evaluation, only top four teams were selected as finalists and were allowed to present their case in the IIE Annual Conference 2013, Puerto Rico. The 2013 finalist teams represented the following companies: 

MD Anderson  Harris 
 Tata   Mas Linea 

The award committee bestowed the Lean Best Practice Award 2013 to the top three teams who accepted their awards from IIE president. The MAS LINEA AQUA won the first place, while the MD Anderson Cancer Center won the second place and the Harris Corporation won the third place. Following are the short descriptions of winning projects.

First Place Title: Lean Manufacturing Practices for Operational Excellence in the Apparel Industry
Abstract: Linea Aqua is a leading swimwear manufacturer based in Sri Lanka. The organization was setup as a joint venture between MAS Holdings - Sri Lanka’s largest apparel manufacturer, Brandot International a US based investment firm and the leading swimwear brand Speedo International. Lean in the apparel industry was not heard of, especially in the environment we work in where the organization is faced with Low Volume and High Variation. Traditionally people believe that lean is not possible for organizations operating in this environment, but we have managed to prove them wrong as you would be able to observe in the improvements that we have achieved. 

Second Place Title: Pharmacy Go Lean: An Initiative in Lean Culture
Abstract: Over the past decade, health care providers have been facing the challenge of reducing costs while improving patient safety, effectiveness and efficiency of their services. Supply chain management is a potential area for improvement in health care as many hospitals are currently relying on manual processes to manage inventory. The Division of Pharmacy in MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), one of the largest inpatient pharmacies in the state including 18 pharmacies, does not have an integrated inventory management system for $13+ million inventory generated from $270+ million annual pharmaceutical purchases. The problem this project addresses is to overcome resistance to change from the Pharmacy staff. By training them we teach them the lean language and change the way the view processes. This helps expand the culture of improvement within their organization and makes them more receptive to change. Pharmacy Go Lean started with training and was very successful in increasing involvement of staff. It addition of cultural change and great improvement results, it provided a common understanding of lean tools within pharmacy leadership and staff which has been a vital key in our big initiative to improve inventory management systems. 

Third Place Title: Implementing Lean Supplier Pull Systems via Supplier Portal
Abstract: As part of our lean transformation, Harris created the Harris Pull System (HPS). The HPS is a lean, pull-based system for requesting material from our suppliers based on consumption. This differs from traditional MRP-driven systems where suppliers receive firm orders based on forecasted demand that may or may not end up being needed at the time the parts are received. The HPS utilizes our supplier portal as the single, standard interface for Harris and our suppliers. It monitors on-hand inventory levels and automatically triggers suppliers to ship when inventory levels reach the Re-Order Point (ROP). Material is brought in only when it’s needed and the ROP recalculates weekly based on demand. This has enabled significant reduction of raw material inventory. In addition to aligning material receipts with demand, the HPS requests material in Economic Order Quantities (EOQs) – the optimal tradeoff between the carrying cost of inventory and the cost to order/receive parts – to optimize for total lowest cost. Harris utilized our existing supplier portal and turned it into an interactive tool to trigger our suppliers for replenishment as needed based on demand and actual consumption. The system is highly automated, requiring very little maintenance. Harris created a system that could be used for very different types of demand, while providing the same type of signal to the supplier.