July, 2017

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New and Renewing Members

Thank you to the following members who have recently joined or renewed your membership!

Electric Machinery Company
PouchTec Industries
Saint Paul Stamp Works
Alerus Financial
Lind Electronics
American Custom Rotomolding
Reo Plastics 
Stampings of Minnesota
Carlson Commercial
Star Exhibits & Env
SJE Rhombus
Action Plastics  
Nordic Ware
August Ash
Faribault Woolen Mill  
Great Northern Corp
Dedicated Networks 
DiSC Profile.com
Decimet Sales Inc
Pearson Candy
Turfco Manufacturing 
Prime Design
Sparboe Farms
Douglas Corporation
Lake Air Metal Products
Salo LLC
Lovegreen Machine Safety Acq
Solid Design Solutions
Tru Vue
Redpath and Co 
Safety Speed Mfg
Glamos Wire Products 
Thermotech Company
Savillex Corporation
Momemtum Enterprises
Ritchie Engineering 
Kasco Marine
Design Ready Controls
Bauer Welding & Metal
Federal Package Network
UBS Financial Services
Tioga Air Heaters
Plymouth Industries
Imperial Plastics  
Blow Molded Specialties
KEB America  
MultiSource Mfg 
Olsen Tool & Plastics
Sunrise Fiberglass
Taylor Machine 
General Marketing Solutions
Consolidated Precision Products
Air Automation Eng
Aaron Carlson Co
George Konik Assoc 
M&A Executive Search
Restaurant Tech
LASX Industries
Otter Tail Corp

Completed Certifications

Congratulations to the following individuals who have completed their certification during March-May. Job well done!

Nicholas Mason-Andersen Corp
Adriana Knox-Tru Vue
Ivan Engleson-Force America
Cody Cirks-Force America
Dan Merten-Hearing Components
Jason Paul-Toro
Jason Showell -Milestone AV
Brent Christenson-Lifetouch
Brad Goldberg-Toro
Meghan Boyum-Donatelle Plastics
Amy Voss-Donatelle Plastics
Chris Idell-Delkor Systems


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Boyer Ford Trucks Wins Award

Boyer Ford Trucks has been named a Silver ESOP Award winner by The ESOP Association. Boyer Ford Trucks is an employee-owned company specializing in vehicle transportation needs.

Upcoming Events

February 7th 2023 09:00 am
- The Role of the Leader Online

February 8th 2023 08:00 am
- Creating Process Maps

February 9th 2023 08:00 am
- Sustaining Lean Culture Through Leadership Changes

February 14th 2023 09:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems Supervision Fundamentals Certification

February 15th 2023 09:00 am
- The Role of the Leader

February 16th 2023 08:00 am
- Conflict, Communication and Collaboration

February 21st 2023 08:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems 6 Sigma Green Belt Certification

February 21st 2023 09:00 am
- Leadership Style & Versatility Online

February 22nd 2023 08:00 am
- Root Cause Analysis

February 22nd 2023 09:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems Supervision Fundamentals Certification

Article Index

Lean Leader - Adriana Knox, Tru Vue
Article by: Adriana Knox

Adriana Knox is Continuous Improvement Engineer at Tru Vue in Faribault. She has been with the company for 7 years.

Start Where You Are
Article by: Susan Weum

Many of us have been there. We’ve toured offices and manufacturing lines at companies that are good at Lean. There’s no clutter.

Engaging Your Workforce in Daily Improvements
Article by: John Berger

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed the United States Navy at Pearl Harbor. Yet, the next day when war was declared with Japan, we were not prepared.

Use Video to Communicate Your Vision
Article by: Tim Lewis

Readers of the bestseller “Traction” by Gino Wickman and adherents to the Entrepreneur Operating System know and understand the importance of creating and communicating a vision for your organization.

MN Economic Outlook
Article by: Dr. Ernest Goss

The June Business Conditions Index for Minnesota soared to a regional high 68.0 from May’s healthy 58.4.

Lean Leader - Adriana Knox, Tru Vue

Adriana Knox is Continuous Improvement Engineer at Tru Vue in Faribault. She has been with the company for 7 years.

Tru Vue is a manufacturer of high performance glazing products for the custom picture framing, museum and engineered optics markets. They are a leader in anti-reflective coatings, as well as conservation-grade UV protection and specialty glazing products for these markets.

Founded in 1946 as Chicago Dial, Tru Vue began as a manufacturer of glass for radio dials and later TV screens. One of the company’s first innovations was a process that etched the glass on TV screens, creating a non-glare surface that refracted light and allowed for a much clearer picture. This etched glass product is what brought Tru Vue into the picture framing market in 1970. Discovering that etched-glass technology eliminated the mirror-like reflections associated with framed art, Tru Vue again brought about industry-changing innovation with the introduction of double-sided, etched non-glare picture framing glass.

Today, Tru Vue sets the standard in glazing that enhances, protects, and beautifies. From custom framing to conservation and preservation in museums and galleries across the globe, to commercial optics, Tru Vue is known as a leader and innovator in the protection and conservation of all things framed and displayed.

Where did you receive your Lean training/experience?
I received my Lean Six Sigma training through Air Academy and previous employers over the past few years. Most of my experience came from leading and working Kaizen and DMAIC projects at Kemet Electronics, Wausau Windows, Linetec and TruVue.

How, when, and why did you get introduced to Lean and what fuels your passion for Continuous Improvement?
In 2001, I was introduced to Lean Six Sigma as part of the continuous improvement initiatives at the company in México. My boss taught me about Lean methodologies and the numerous benefits associated with it. I was amazed at how simple changes in a process could enhance the overall performance of a production line in very impactful ways. After spending time learning about many of the Lean tools and the importance of team based brainstorming, I began to utilize Lean whenever process improvement opportunities presented themselves. As I continued to leverage Lean in my day-to-day responsibilities, it became very clear to me that these tools and methodologies were having a very real impact toward molding and shaping the business culture. As an example, using tools such as 5S and Kaizen Events helped those involved in the process to realize that a high level of value occurred as the implementation of Lean was spread throughout the plant.  

I enjoy working with people within the context of leading projects and teaching teams about the various Lean tools and training them in the proper application of each tool. Gemba walks are also very important to me as well because it offers us the opportunity to identify various forms of Waste in each process. Part of my weekly routine is to walk the production floor to identify potential improvement opportunities, listen the team members, and provide Shop Floor Team member’s feedback to the leaders.

What are your current Lean oriented activities?
Tru Vue’s focus is on training all employees on Continuous Improvement. The Lean Enterprise program includes 5S+Safety, Visual Management, Culture, 8 Step Process Solving, Leader Standard Work and Kaizen. Some of the new Lean initiates are Quality at the Source, Preventive and Predictive Maintenance and Employee Engagement.

With the rapidly growth of the business, it is important that Continuous Improvement is embedded in the culture and that all members of the organization are involved in the Lean improvement process.

What were the lessons learned in leading or training your team on a Lean project?
From my experience leading projects some of the most powerful lessons learned are:

  • Engagement of the Stake Holder and genuine Team member involvement are critical to the long term sustainability of any process improvement initiative.
  • Like every company, we have employees that at times can be resistant to change. Over time we have learned that it is very important to listen to their concerns, understand why they feel the way they do, and then to gain their support by engaging them in the process.
  • Keep the team members motivated by always listening to their opinions and making sure that all voices are heard within the context of Team based brainstorming. We also try to tap into the team member’s creativity as it relates to their areas of expertise. This is a recipe for great project success. 
  • Before a project is completed, develop a Control Plan with checks and balances that insure the gains made from the project work will be able to achieve long-term process improvement sustainability.
  • Celebrate the success of the Team. Recognize Team member achievements by posting documentation throughout the plant and by having Executive level project report outs.

What are the next steps in the Lean journey for your company?
Tru Vue strongly believes it is critical to support and sustain Continuous Improvement initiatives. The focus for the past two years was to implement and sustain 6S, Visual Management, Culture, 8 Step Process Solving, Leaders Standard Work, and Kaizen. Continuous Improvement is embedded in our culture and all of our employees understand why it is important to be part of the change.

The next steps in our Lean journey are built on the following Lean Enterprise Initiatives:

  • Sustaining the success that we have had with the development and implementation of the fundamental Lean methodologies that have already become part of our culture.
  • Zero Loss: Identifying waste throughout the business and selecting projects to improve each process.
  • Job Training: Focusing on the development of talent and insuring that efficient cross training occurs on a regular basis.
  • Lean Enterprise Leadership Support: Including our Executive Team members in Lean activities to help insure that process improvement initiatives are spread throughout the entire business.
  • Quality at the Source: Insuring that our methods and standards related to process and product quality continue to perform at optimal levels.
  • Preventive and Predictive Maintenance: Continued concentration on making sure that we are proactive and that equipment needs are prioritized and  taken care of based on data based information.

How would you describe peer-to-peer education and training to your colleague?
It gives me the opportunity to learn about Lean initiatives of other companies. It is a great way to learn and share current challenges, discuss alternatives to improve the process and also to share successes of projects. It provides an excellent opportunity to discuss challenges in your own company and to be able to have open conversations and great feedback. It is an excellent way to share best practices with others in manufacturing.

Adriana Knox is a Continuous Improvement Engineer at TruVue in Faribault, MN. She can be reached at aknox@Tru-Vue.com.

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Start Where You Are

Many of us have been there. We’ve toured offices and manufacturing lines at companies that are good at Lean. There’s no clutter.

Work and information flows smoothly from one process to another. Waste of any kind is minimal and dealt with effectively. We walk away energized by thinking what it would take to make our own environment look and function like that.

So we go back to our company with a vision in mind. We present this vision to management, form a team and get started on the hard work of transformation:

  • We do our Process Maps.
  • We do our Current State Value Stream Maps.
  • We review our floor plan, our layouts, our takt time and resources.
  • We create our Future State Value Stream Maps.

The potential! We organize a Kaizen Event designed to change into the linear, uncluttered and efficient Lean Masterpiece that fulfills our potential. We plan for two days. It takes a week. We discover that we need all sorts of new furniture, fixturing and utilities, and our first effort may grind to a somewhat fruitless halt. Maybe Lean just won’t work here. “Our process is too ________.” (Complex/low volume/low tech…fill in the blank.)

Does any of this sound familiar?

This excerpt is from the Manufacturers Alliance's educational blog. This member benefit follows suit with our mission by focusing on sharing the best practices and lessons learned from experienced manufacturing peers to help members continuously improve. Read more of this excerpt Here.


Susan Weum is a certified Six-Sigma Black Belt, formerly with Smiths Medical. She can be reached at SMWlindy@hotmail.com.

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Engaging Your Workforce in Daily Improvements

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed the United States Navy at Pearl Harbor. Yet, the next day when war was declared with Japan, we were not prepared.

We needed men at the front lines as soon as possible and we needed those same men in the factories making ship, planes, tanks, and armament. The solution was to bring women into the workforce. The Training Within Industry (TWI) program successfully trained Rosie the Riveter and millions of women like her to do the factory jobs historically filled by men. TWI greatly helped the U.S. win World War II!

Today, a limited labor pool makes training one of the biggest challenges companies face. Yet, many choose to ignore this challenge, or complain that the school system is to blame, or that kids these days are not capable or interested in learning a trade. In fact, today’s training challenge is much like Rosie the Riveter. Smart companies are using TWI as a competitive advantage.

How do you train new employees?
Are you capturing the knowledge of subject matter experts? Do you use it to cross-train employees for demand flexibility? How often does training fail and you have to start over with someone new? These failures can limit the growth of your company.

How do you manage change?
Do you have a way to find the best practices of all employees? Once you find a better way, how do you get everyone to use it? When a process changes, does your workforce believe they are a part of the change or that change “happens to them?”

Imagine if your company had a robust training process. One that encouraged employees to share their best methods so they could quickly be taught to others. Imagine if your supervisors helped employees participate in change and develop an owner’s viewpoint. Would these differences increase the pace of improvement? What an advantage that could give your company!

TWI is a proven methodology for training and change management. Join John Berger at the "Engaging Your Workforce in Daily Improvements" workshop on August 2nd in our Golden Valley Training Room. This class will show how TWI can help you document, train, and improve standard work in both factory and office environments. TWI standard work forms the baseline for your continuous improvement! Learn more Here.



John Berger is Vice President of Quality and Process Improvement with Fiserv, Inc. He can be reached at john.berger@fiserv.com.

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Use Video to Communicate Your Vision

Readers of the bestseller “Traction” by Gino Wickman and adherents to the Entrepreneur Operating System know and understand the importance of creating and communicating a vision for your organization.

There’s no better way to convey this vision than through video. Your company’s vision will usually encompass your values, uniques (differentiators) and core focus (purpose + niche). All three could be difficult to convey in one video, so we recommend a short video for each.

The Values video
The values video is a summary and description of the values of the company and what it means to exemplify these values. Companies who have fully implemented the EOS system will hire, fire and give performance reviews based on demonstration of these values. Shared values define who an organization is and if clearly communicated, can be critical to organizational success.

The Uniques video
The uniques video conveys three specific selling propositions which make your company the best choice for your ideal prospect. It’s your company’s superior skill, three things that differentiate you from your competitors. Your competitors may have one in common, but no competitor has all three of the same uniques. Your uniques also need to be critical to your customers.

Core Focus video
Using the EOS system, an organization will distill down the essence of the purpose or mission of your organization into one simple core focus sentence. However, it would make a great video as well that visualizes the people, cause, passion and niche of your organization. The core focus video conveys the big hairy, audacious “save the world” goal of your company in an aspirational, inspirational two minutes.

Having a series of vision videos will give your customers confidence in doing business with you, give your employee a roadmap for the future and give your prospects a reason to consider your organization for a long term partnership.

Tim Lewis is Executive Producer and owner of Mastcom, a certified veteran owned Minneapolis video production agency. Mastcom produces marketing and training videos for a variety of industries and purposes. He can be reached at tim@mastcom.com or visit www.mastcom.com.

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MN Economic Outlook

The June Business Conditions Index for Minnesota soared to a regional high 68.0 from May’s healthy 58.4.

Components of the overall June index from the monthly survey of supply managers were new orders at 75.2, production or sales at 77.4, delivery lead time at 59.9, inventories at 61.2, and employment at 66.0. "Expansions were recorded for a broad range of manufacturers, both durable and nondurable, including navigation equipment producers, medical equipment manufacturers and food processors. Based on surveys over the past several months, the state economy will continue to grow at a healthy pace through the fourth quarter of this year," said Goss. 

Dr. Ernest Goss of Creighton University, used the same methodology as The National Association of Purchasing Management to compile this information. An index number greater than 50 percent indicates an expansionary economy, and an index under 50 percent forecast a sluggish economy, for the next three to six months.

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