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Lean Manufacturing, developed


from the high standards created by Toyota, came into the IC Bus picture about five years ago. “When you put your employ- ees first, your customers will be taken care of,” Reed said, noting the company has invested more than $10 million in tools and facilities upgrades at its Tulsa plant. “Noth- ing big and shiny, but things that support operations and safety.” One challenge for manufacturers is that most customers want an order of buses built and delivered at the same time, which creates a strain. Lean processes simultaneously increase effi- cient communications and produc- tivity, minimize waste and increase value to the customer. Reed noted that the philosophy influences every step from the engineering, quality and reliabil- ity groups and manufacturing to dealer sales and servicing. She added, “Trough the entire life cycle of the bus, there are continuous improve- ment opportunities. Lean is a jour- ney. You’re never at a final destina- tion. It’s always about improvement. It’s about making gradual improve- ments that people may not see at first, but over time they add up and they make a real difference.” Scheuler noted that Collins implemented Six Sigma, but then merged it with the company’s own Lean system. Employees receive training and on-the-job evalua- tion to achieve different levels of certification — and are rewarded for their efforts. “It helps expose our weaknesses and then uses Six Sigma to solve problems. Some of our employees call it our operating system, like Microsoft Windows is for PCs. Lean is part of everything we do,” he said.


“What it did for us was outstanding. In 2003, we were building six buses a day in peak season. We can build 18 buses a day with the same work- force, so it has been exponential in getting us where we need to be.”


March 11-16


GALT HOUSE HOTEL Louisville, Kentucky


2016


• SPECIALIZED TRAINING • NETWORKING • COMPLIANCE • CERTIFICATION


www.tsdconference.com


Join us in March for the premier learning event in special needs transportation.


www.stnonline.com 57


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