Maytag Dishwasher Plant Wins Award
Mar 23, 2004
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Maytag Corporation announced that its dishwashing plant in Jackson, TN, U.S. is one of 12 recipients of the 2004 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing.

Dubbed the "Nobel prize of manufacturing" by Business Week magazine, the Shingo Prize is said to be the only industrial excellence award in the world that focuses on lean manufacturing. According to Maytag, its Jackson Dishwashing Products is the first appliance producer to receive the award.

Maytag's Searcy Laundry Products in Searcy, AR, U.S. was also a finalist for the 2004 Shingo prize.

Maytag Chairman and CEO Ralph F. Hake called the dishwashing plant's award "an achievement that represents the finest efforts of Maytag people and an inspiring example of what our LeanSigma(R) philosophy can help us accomplish."

He added: "I congratulate our Jackson associates who worked as a team to deploy LeanSigma(R) methodology to its fullest, making our dishwashing operations a world-class facility that is a source of great pride across our company. This prize will inspire our other sites to strive to reach the same level of manufacturing excellence."

According to the appliance maker, the Maytag LeanSigma(R) philosophy combines lean manufacturing methods with Six Sigma tools and was the path for transformation beginning in 1999 at the Jackson plant. Using the philosophy, significant improvements were achieved in safety, quality, cost, and delivery, Maytag claims.

Terry Spalding, director of Manufacturing at Maytag Jackson Dishwashing Products (JDP), explained that the plant's associates belong to empowered "High Performance Work Teams" producing more than 100 models of dishwashers with brands including Maytag(R), Amana(R), and Jenn-Air(R).

"Our team culture encourages empowerment at all levels in the decision-making process," Mr. Spaulding said. "Maytag Jackson team members are totally committed to the never-ending quest for continuous improvement. They are dedicated to creating a safe environment and to providing a top-quality dishwasher in the quantities required by our customers, at the time required by our customers."

Some of the improvements Maytag says have occurred at the Jackson plant include the following:

  • Transformed a single assembly line into eight one-piece flow assembly cells allowing flexibility to produce any of more than 100 models in any hour of the day
  • Reduced the OSHA recordable injury rate by 65 percent
  • Improved attendance by 16 percent to 99.1 percent
  • Improved labor hours to produce a unit by 29 percent
  • Reduced scrap and rework costs by 64 percent
  • Improved first pass quality yield by 88 percent to 99.15 percent
  • In 2003 alone, conducted more than 2000 kaizen events and performed 53 Six Sigma projects to help generate several million dollars in cost reductions.

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