Founded in 1944, Franklin Electric has grown from a small electrical motor manufacturing company into a global provider of water and fueling systems found in residential, commercial, agricultural, industrial, municipal, and fueling applications. Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind., Franklin Electric now has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the United States.

To manage its business amidst such growth, Franklin Electric's core business strategy—continuous improvement—had to become a principal focus through initiatives such as the Kaizen culture, Design for Lean Sigma, Customer Centric Innovation and Business Process Improvement. Lean manufacturing refers to the process of eliminating waste and non-value added activities. By definition, such continuous improvement is a journey consisting of a series of changes aimed at making an organization more effective. 

As the global environment evolves, companies must adapt to achieve the goal of offering products and services faster, cheaper and better than the competition.

"We believe that a global approach to continuous improvement strengthens our commitment to the key values of our company: quality, availability, service, innovation and value," says Gregg Sengstack, COO of Franklin Electric. "Our dedicated continuous improvement team has coordinated Kaizen events on product engineering, supply, manufacturing and business process. This focus has directly reduced manufacturing and operating costs, and has yielded gains in quality and efficiency throughout the entire company."

Targeting the Eight Wastes of Lean

Franklin Electric employs the "8 Wastes of Lean: TIM WOODS" philosophy across all of its plants and business units to maximize efficiency. TIM WOODS is not a name, but an easy mnemonic way to remember each of the following wastes:

   1. Transport—moving people, products and information.

   2. Inventory—storing parts, pieces and documentation ahead of requirements.

   3. Motion—bending, turning, reaching, lifting and unnecessary walking.

   4. Waiting–for parts, instructions and equipment.

   5. Over-production—making more than is immediately required.

   6. Over-processing—tighter tolerances or higher-grade materials than necessary.

   7. Defects—rework, scrap, warranty and test failures.

   8. Skills—under-utilizing capabilities and delegating tasks with inadequate training.