Guardian Industries Continues to Strive Towards Lean Success
Guardian Industries is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of float glass and fabricated glass products. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, the privately held Guardian group of companies employs 18,000 people worldwide (that’s more than 25 countries on five continents) and they are a valued source of the company’s success. Guardian has become a leader in residential and commercial building products among other segments. The Texas facility is located in Corsicana allowing for easy access to its silica sourcing in Cleburne, TX. Guardian is always looking for innovative ways to strengthen the organization with the help of its 300 + area employees.
Glass manufacturing continues to look at new ways to expand its presence in the burgeoning glass market place. For Guardian, the time was right to re-invest and invigorate process improvements.
The company is actively investing in new capital expenditures, which will lead to new and profitable markets. It also has a proprietary process for manufacturing glass with a DiamondGuar® coating. DiamondGuard is scratch resistant and lasts longer than ordinary glass. Its endurance in the real world redefines the possibilities of glass. While thankful for market growth, Guardian’s Corsicana plant has withstood expansions and tweaks for the past 31 years. . Guardian needed to leverage its existing footprint and develop human capital to deal with additional growth.
A former Guardian employee found TMAC, the Texas NIST/MEP affiliate, at a professional association meeting. Partnering with Navarro College, Guardian secured state training funds to finance its large scope project, which also included equipment controls and language skills training.
TMAC trained 325 people at Guardian on the principles of a Lean Enterprise, from line workers to supervisors and managers. TMAC also worked with the company to implement Training within Industry (TWI) Standard Work Instructions. Other Lean suite tools incorporated into the project included Value Stream Mapping, Total Predictive Maintenance and 5S. Visual tools. TMAC also worked with Guardian to implement the A3 Process, which engages employees in a collaborative in-depth problem solving solution. A3 is used to mitigate the amount of scrap materials.
The successful deployment of TMAC’s Lean tools has enabled Guardian to handle the existing production much more efficiently.
Processes with inherent variability have become more stable with increased quality and consistency. The company has also invested in internal Black and Green Belt Lean Six Sigma experts trained by TMAC and look forward to expanding its cost saving projects with an eye toward enhanced employee and customer satisfaction.
Lean concepts are now better understood and improvements are sustained by consistently measuring impacts.
Guardian is so pleased with their Lean Enterprise results that they instilled it as foundation for management. Supervisors participate in a mentoring program where they focus on Lean tools and techniques.
A 24/7 operation, Guardian is now positioned to take its increased production capabilities to the next level!
- 10 new jobs created, 350 jobs protected & enhanced
- $3M investment in capital improvements
- Improved morale and company culture
- $25K invested in workforce development
- $1M cost savings
- Decreased transportation time
- Increased usable floor space due to 5S
TMAC’s Lean Enterprise deliverables have moved us from being in a reactive mode to a more proactive organization. A holistically implementation of Lean tools top to bottom from 5S to Lean Six Sigma has put us in front of the curve.