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Continuous Improvement

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Continuous Improvement is a cornerstone of Higbee, Inc.’s management philosophy. While Higbee has embraced continuous improvement concepts such as cellular manufacturing, throughput, and the theory of constraints for years, we revitalized our efforts in 2002 with a company wide, formal lean initiative. A Steering Committee was put in place, and a written plan established. Processes were value stream mapped, future states envisioned, and action plans created. All Higbee employees were trained on lean concepts and participated on kaizen teams.

The results were excellent. After one year, sales per employee increased 23%. WIP inventory decreased 84%, and turns increased 11%. A new factory layout and improved 5S program helped decrease average product travel by 44% and created additional floor space for future production capabilities. As a result of our success, Higbee, Inc. was invited to present at the Central New York Technology Development Organization’s Tech 2003 conference, and was featured in a story by the Syracuse Post Standard. "Changes Help Bottom Line".

 

Higbee’s lean culture continues to thrive with an active steering committee, two six sigma green belts, lean training for all new employees, and full management commitment. Our goal can best be described in our Lean Mission Statement, which reads: “We, the employees of Higbee Inc., shall work continuously to improve our processes through the systematic elimination of waste in the relentless pursuit of perfection. We recognize that we get what we expect, and deserve what we tolerate.”

Performance Metrics

Higbee, Inc. is very proud of our quality system that allowed initial certification to the ISO standard in 1999 and continues to evolve. From inception, management viewed the ISO standard not as a list of requirements necessary to “pass the test”, but rather as a system to provide exceptional quality products to our customers through continuous process improvement, technical excellence and cost effective manufacturing. Our desired outcome is extremely satisfied customers.

We measure our performance and customer satisfaction in many ways. Below are a few aspects of our performance that we are particularly proud:

Performance Metrics
Defective Parts
713 DPPM
(99.90% within spec)
Gasket On Time to Customer
98%
Results From Last ISO Registrar Audit
No major,
2 minor non-conformances
Customer Satisfaction per Customer Survey
4.4 out of 5.0

 

Beyond measurements and accolades, we know our performance meets our customers’ needs by the many long term relationships we enjoy, with some exceeding 60 years. It is our commitment to meeting our customers’ diverse needs that has allowed Higbee, Inc. to be a leader in the gasket and sealing products industry for almost 75 years.

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