Cleveland – More than 120 manufacturing professionals from around the country took part in a presentation and plant tours at Lincoln Electric’s world headquarters in Cleveland and consumables manufacturing plant in Mentor, Ohio, on April 19, 2010 as part of IndustryWeek’s Best Plants Conference.
The Best Plants Conference annually provides attendees with insight on the latest strategies and tactics being undertaken by leading manufacturers to improve operations and grow their profits. The plant tours are part of the conference that also includes speakers and educational sessions that introduce real-world tactics that participants can take with them to implement into their own companies.
Vice President, Machine Division, Ron Nelson, shared insights of the company’s journey, beginning in 1895 with company founder John C. Lincoln, who was joined later by brother James F. Lincoln. Nelson also highlighted the company’s progress over the past 10 years. This has included expanding into several product and geographic market segments internationally, resulting in sales for 2009 reaching $1.7 billion. Nelson also commented that the company’s well-known incentive management system is studied at the Harvard Business School.
Lee Seufer, Lincoln Electric’s director, manufacturing engineering, gave an overview of the company’s Machine Division, including how Lincoln Electric moved to become a more customer-focused company over a 10-year span. The company changed its manufacturing systems over the last decade and shifted from a push to a pull flow of parts and assemblies. This is driven by customer orders against Lincoln’s strategically located distribution centers and now results in improved productivity and faster inventory turnarounds. Other shop programs are showing results as well, including a lower number of warranty issues, improved safety, as measured by reduced DART (Days Away, Restricted or Transferred) and less scrap and waste to landfill.
Following the company introduction, participants took a tour of the Mentor facility, or the Machine Division of the Cleveland headquarters and factory, where they saw the Lincoln manufacturing plan in action on the plant floor. For example, in the Machine Division, the tours highlighted five different locations on the manufacturing floor where more than 300 welding machine models and 1,600 accessories are made each day.
After the tours, attendees were welcomed back to the presentation room for a question and answer session.
Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment and has a leading global position in the brazing and soldering alloys market. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln has 38 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 18 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries.