The Harris Products Group facility in Mason, Ohio, has been named a 2012 Finalist for IndustryWeek’s Best Plants competition. The distinction is based on strong manufacturing performance and a comprehensive focus on continuous improvement.
Harris is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of cutting, welding, brazing and soldering equipment and consumables and gas distribution systems. The Harris Mason facility manufacturers brazing and soldering alloys, rings and return bends. The alloys are used in the manufacture of OEMs products in HVAC/R, transportation and automotive, mining and energy, heavy fabrication and other industries. The products manufactured in Mason are sold in the U.S. and exported to 96 countries around the world.
“The Mason team has worked hard these past few years, and this is a great validation of their efforts in team-based lean Six Sigma usage,” said Dan Marascalchi, vice president of global operations for Harris. “It exemplifies our commitment to operational excellence, this is just one stop on the way to fulfilling a larger vision of high quality, high productivity manufacturing in the U.S. and at our plants around the world.”
Dave Nangle, president of The Harris Products Group, said the honor highlights the operations teams’ commitment to continuous improvement across the organization and dedication to the company’s vision for operational excellence.
“To be named one of the best manufacturing plants in North America is a testament to our team members’ recognition that they each play a role in the success of Harris and our parent company, Lincoln Electric. Every day, they strive to make a difference and live out the vision,” Nangle said. “We look forward to their continued efforts and know that we will be successful because of their teamwork and commitment to excellence.”
To be considered for the award, the facility leaders completed a comprehensive application earlier this year, describing the plant’s accomplishments, improvements and operations in multiple categories, including Management Practices, Quality Achievements, Employment Practices, Safety, Customer Focus, Supply Chain and Logistics, Technology, Manufacturing & Flexibility, Maintenance, Inventory Management, Environmental Stewardship and Competiveness & Market Results.
“For us, it’s a forum to see how this plant benchmarks next to the best plants in North America,” said Rob Temple, plant manager in Mason. “It’s one thing when I tell the team we’re doing the right things; its further validation for the team when they hear it from an outside group.”
“The employees at Harris Mason have embraced manufacturing excellence and continuous improvement to serve our customers,” he said. “A tremendous amount of time, effort and most importantly, new ideas and perspectives from employees and their willingness to make the changes necessary was the key to achieving this recognition.”
The application process uses operations metrics from 2008 as a benchmark and compares them to progress over a three-year period, 2009-2011. In the application, The Harris Products Group stressed five primary objectives:
1. Safety & Environmental Responsibility
2. Quality Built into All Operations
3. Customer Service Driving Improvement
4. Beat Project Improvement Goals
5. Team-based Problem Solving Using Lean/Six Sigma Tools.
The Harris Mason facility made the first cut in IndustryWeek’s application process and was then asked to submit responses to six additional questions, concerning cost improvement projects, first-pass yield, cycle times, on-time delivery, inventory reduction and productivity improvement. The follow-up also included testimonials from customers and information about the plant’s distinction as the 2011 Lincoln Electric EHS Chairman’s Award winner for environmental impact, safety and quality.
The finalists were announced in September, and the winners will be profiled in the January 2013 issue of IndustryWeek.
Temple said sharing the distinction of finalist with many well-known names also demonstrates that The Harris Products Group is an industry leader. Other finalists include a Harris customer, the Carrier Corp. in Indianapolis, as well as Harley-Davidson Motor Co., La-Z-Boy, and Lockheed Martin. It also serves as a great recruitment tool to attract top manufacturing talent.
“I’m a firm believer we are going to win this thing,” Temple said. “And when we do, we hope that customers and potential customers will share our pride in this distinction, knowing the products they buy are manufactured in the U.S. in a cost-effective, team environment that stresses quality, high productivity and continuous improvement.”
“I looked to the teams inside these walls and ask them how we can help sell products, not just make them,” he said. “This is one way we can help do that.”
To see a complete list of finalists and learn more about the award, visit industryweek.com/.
About Harris Products Group
The Harris Products Group (harrisproductsgroup.com), a Lincoln Electric Company, is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of cutting, welding, brazing and soldering equipment and consumables and gas distribution systems. Harris Products Group products are sold and used in more than 90 countries. The company’s international corporate headquarters are located in Mason, Ohio, north of Cincinnati.