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Released July 29, 2003


LONG BEACH - In its six years of existence, The Lean Enterprise Center at The University of Southern Mississippi has helped companies across the South create value and eliminate waste in their manufacturing and service operations.

The University's Lean Enterprise Center, now based at Southern Miss on the Gulf Coast, focuses on training and project management through the "train-and-do" approach.

"We have seen an overwhelming need for Lean training among the companies we have worked with, and there continues to be a tremendous market for our services," said Lean Enterprise Center instructor Scott Miller. "We have provided valuable Lean Manufacturing training for these companies and they have realized important benefits as a result."

Originally developed by Toyota and now used throughout the world, Lean Manufacturing is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvement by flowing the product at the pull of the customer. It is a proven methodology for analyzing and improving the flow of information and materials in a manufacturing environment, resulting in a dramatic increase in customer satisfaction, employee involvement and company profitability.

The term "Lean" is very apt because in Lean Manufacturing, the emphasis is to cut the "fat" or waste in the manufacturing process. Waste is defined as anything that does not add value for the customer.

Lean Manufacturing tools and techniques such as set-up reduction, cellular design and value stream mapping are introduced to the workforce and then applied in a "kaizen" event. Kaizen, which means "continuous improvement," are intensive and focused facilitation events that incorporate continuous improvement methodology in the Lean Manufacturing process. The Lean Enterprise Center at Southern Miss offers both one and half-day workshops.

"Teamwork was one of the lessons of the workshop and we learned it well," said Jenny Cantrell, project coordinator at ITT Industries in Amory. "We will use all the Lean Manufacturing concepts and techniques in the future in determining how to set up our operation and eliminate waste and steps in the process. We want to take Lean's message to all our employees. It showed us what kind of impact you can have on your company's profits."

Southern Miss' Lean Enterprise Center is self-sustainable. All training from the center is fee-based and no grant or state money is used.

The Lean Enterprise Center works with most segments of industry, including shipbuilding, furniture, automotive, processing and health care. Current clientele include Northrop Grumman, Baxter Healthcare, Parker Hannifan, Franklin, Cooper Tire and Toro.

"Our goal is to help companies make their operations more efficient and in the process, improve their product and their service to their customers," said Lean Enterprise Center instructor Scott Alsobrooks. "There is a great deal to be gained from learning Lean manufacturing concepts and we are proud to be able to provide this training to the companies in our region."



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August 18, 2003 4:50 PM