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Location: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho ­ Kootenai County
Project Area: Lean Manufacturing

Advanced Input Devices (AID) designs and manufactures a wide variety of specialty input panels and keyboards for use in the O.E.M electronic equipment market. With approximately 350 employees, the firm is ISO-9000 certified and operates out of a modern manufacturing facility in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. Its customer base includes a number of big­-name capital equipment manufacturers. AID has sustained steady growth over the past decade to become one of the major employers in North Idaho. Being in the highly competitive contract engineering and manufacturing business,the company was quick to realize the need for high quality, fast response and low cost in this market segment. Top management made the
decision to pursue Lean Manufacturing several years ago, but they were looking for a powerful training tool to effect the needed change in the “company culture”.

Solution:
TechHelp provided the tool with delivery of seven Lean 101 workshops across all levels of the company. The training and the related electronic assembly simulation provided employees with knowledge of the Lean principles and, perhaps more importantly, a keen awareness of the need to change the “status quo”. The company capitalized on this new attitude by forming its own rapid improvement teams and encouraging innovation in the manufacturing systems with Lean principles as the guide. Convinced of the value of the training, AID is sponsoring a Lean 101 session for representatives from all divisions of their parent company to introduce them to this fundamental building block for Lean implementations.

Impact:
The training accelerated the change in company culture toward the Lean way of thinking. That enabled
employee teams to rapidly plan and implement a variety of improvement projects in the last 2 years with
impacts such as:

  • 90% reduction in travel distance for customer return processing and a 75% reduction in the time
    required to process a return.
  • 20% less space needed to produce 20% more product in final assembly area, and a 40­-60%
    reduction in labor hours to produce most products.
  • Cycle time to build a product was reduced by 40­-50% in the last 2 years.\25% reduction in changeover labor and a 90% reduction in machine down time during
    changeover of surface mount equipment.

Testimonial:

Advanced Input Devices needed some tools to push Lean initiatives into our direct labor force and support areas. TechHelp provided the high quality Lean 101 training we needed. The training got our employees excited about the concept of Lean and started a significant internal change in our company. While we had been working on Lean projects for several years, a noticeable cultural change did not start until we put a large percentage of our employees through the Lean 101 training.John Lowell, VP of Operations, Advanced Input Devices