Crysteel Clear Value
From Value Stream Mapping to Kaizen events, Crysteel Manufacturing Inc. reduced waste to ramp up truck body production for Oshkosh Corporation by 25 percent.
Joe Paulsen, general manager (front), Don Davis (left), and Jon Tagatz (right) participated in in Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen events to improve efficiency in production.
It was a good problem to have. As a supplier to Oshkosh Corporation in a recently awarded five-year defense contract, Crysteel Manufacturing Inc. manufactures truck bodies of FMTVs, or Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles for the U.S. military. The project, which now accounts
for one-quarter of Crysteel's annual sales, requires Crysteel to build 15 truck bodies per week, but at the outset, Crysteel's processes had it on pace to turn out only 12 per week.
To make up the difference and to increase efficiency throughout its supply chain, Oshkosh invited Crysteel and 11 other suppliers to receive Value Stream Mapping training from their local Manufacturing Extension Partnerships. As Minnesota's MEP, Enterprise Minnesota helped
Crysteel managers map the assembly process for their dump bodies, or the part of a truck that is mounted onto the frame of a truck chassis. Mapping requires detailed measurement of the time it takes to complete each step in the process, and how well each step flows into the next to
facilitate efficiency in production. After completing the value stream map of the dump body assembly process, which is the most complex part of the project, managers then worked to create a larger value stream map that encompasses their entire production process.
Joe Paulsen, general manager, says the mapping process gave managers an acute awareness of how each process relates to the value stream as a whole.
"Their eyes were opened to the complexity and the involvement of the process, and how the entire value stream depends on each of their areas," Paulsen says, adding that recognition of waste within the process has also been key to improvements.
Maps in hand, the team at Crysteel next conducted Kaizen events to reduce waste, improve flow and ultimately achieve its faster lead-time. Kaizen events are multi-day events that focus on examining and improving a specific problem area of a manufacturer's plant, whether in
layout or in processes. Eliminating wasted movement was a particular focus. In its truck hoist assembly area, for example, a rearranged space reduced cart movement by 32 percent. Since beginning its lean journey, Crysteel has also been able to shrink its forklift fleet from 12 to
Paulsen says more Kaizen events will keep Crysteel on its toes. "Before we did the mapping with Enterprise Minnesota, we would do spaghetti diagrams and we were amazed at the distances that certain parts would travel before they would be processed. That is a big part of what
we do now. A lot of times at events, our goal will be just to reduce the amount of travel that product has before it gets processed."