Compucon's team uses Value Stream Mapping to streamline processes and optimize productivity.
Last September, custom circuit board designer/ manufacturer Compucon set a goal to double sales within five years. One year later, the New Hope company is on track, thanks in part to a Value Stream Mapping session with Enterprise Minnesota.
Compucon designs and builds circuit boards for a variety of applications. Its products include a key element of firefighting equipment: injection proportioning control systems, which regulate the amount of concentrate injected into the water line to create a firefighting foam.
Other Compucon products are critical components in dairy management systems, grid power monitoring systems, laboratory environment control systems, and test and measurement for food and pharmaceutical packaging materials.
To build on its existing continuous improvement model, Compucon hired Enterprise Minnesota to lead a Value Stream Mapping session. VSM helps companies identify waste by mapping out an entire production process, from raw materials to final product delivery.
Compucon chose to map production of its firefighting foam control system interface, its most frequently sold product. After the two-day mapping process, the team discovered that excess work in process inventory, plus searching and waiting for needed documentation and tools,
often created waste in production.
In response, Compucon switched to a cell assembly process, where all necessary building components for each order are gathered in one location. The company also invested in an upgrade to its current pick-and place machine, shrinking Compucon's manufacturing lead-time on this
product line from 40 days to 9.
Tim Johnson, production manager, and Ross Bieger, manufacturing engineer, agree that the introduction of GreenLeanSM principles and VSM have enhanced employee involvement and acceptance of changes being made. They say VSM was particularly helpful in quantifying where the waste was,
which helped to quickly build consensus about where changes were needed. Now, Johnson says, "employees are getting excited about looking for more [ways to improve]. It's contagious."
To learn more about Compucon, visit