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Lean Manufacturing Implementation

Success Stories and Case Studies #2

Continental Design & Engineering provides expert engineering and technical services to a wide range of customers. Situated in the heart of the automotive manufacturing Midwest, Continental has developed a specialty in energy related technologies, such as alternators, generators and batteries.

Continental Design & Engineering provides the following services:

  • Design & Engineering Services -- For product development and manufacturing
  • Technical Staffing Services -- With both contract employees and direct placements
  • Quality Engineering -- From handling the immediate problem (Short Term Fix) to root cause analysis and final resolution of any quality issue (Long Term Fix)
  • Lean Enterprise Consulting -- Taking Lean technology from a business philosophy to a money-saving reality throughout the entire organization
  • Globalization -- Helping our clients compete in a global market with best cost solutions available for their sourcing decisions


The term Lean Enterprise evolved from the term Lean Manufacturing, a term coined in the James P. Womack book, The Machine That Changed the World, based largely on his observations of the Toyota Production System. The focus at Toyota was the absolute elimination of waste, especially anything that prevented the most optimum flow and assembly of material, from raw material to finished goods. In a few short years Lean Manufacturing transformed Toyota into a high quality, low cost manufacturer and consequentially spread rapidly to numerous other manufacturing facilities around the world. Now Lean has taken a step further into the entire enterprise, identifying and eliminating waste in the whole business model, including both front office and back office.

Continental was asked to apply its experience in Lean Manufacturing to streamline an accounting department in a mid-size company. The main situation was the excessive time it was taking to close the month and get key financial data to the executive and decision-makers.

Current State

The month-end financial statements are due from the accounting department to the executives in 8 working days from the last day of the month. A review of this target in the past revealed the following:

Current State
    Ideal Future State
  • 100% on time delivery of month end financial reports
  • Accelerating the due date for reports from 8 to 5 business days

Method for Improvement

Value Stream MappingWith the help of Continental's Lean consultants, the accounting department did a Value Stream Map* for the current state. The mapping clearly showed that each section of accounting was working in series, not in parallel. Example: one section would complete their work then pass it on to the next section, to the next section and so on (see chart). If just one section had a slow or an absent staff member, this would cause the entire financial statements to miss the due date.

Process Flow Before

Process Flow After

AP: Accounts Payable, AR: Accounts Receivable, C: Consolidation, R/C: Review and Correct.


Upon completion of the Current State Value Stream Map, it was decided much of the work could and should be done in parallel, with little or no overlap. This change resulted in 100% on time delivery of the monthly financial report PLUS A 38% IMPROVEMENT TO THE PREVIOUS REQUIREMENT (see chart).

By using Lean Enterprise technology, the Accounting Department has gone from 38% late delivery to 100% on time delivery in two thirds of the time it had taken previously.


The executives now have financial data in half the time as before (5 days vs. an average of10 days). In today's fast moving pace, the sooner data is received the quicker and more efficient decisions can be made.

How Does Lean Apply to the Government Sector?

By utilizing Lean technology, any organization can scout out and eliminate waste, resulting in efficiencies and cost savings. In today's world the impetus is always to do more with less. Lean can be used to evaluate, assess, and improve key government processes ranging from procurement and accounting, to military administration lines, to new product development and delivery. Lean can be applied to a specific department or to a whole organization with great success. Lean allows you to cut waste, thereby saving you money, resources, and countless man-hours, which can then be reallocated to better usage.

2 1/2 Day Rapid Deployment Lean Enterprise Workshop

Continental provides an intensive Lean Workshop tailored specifically to your project. The Workshop is performed at your facility with your key staff that works day-to-day with the product or service.

Your staff is quickly immersed in basic Lean technology and immediately implements Lean to a selected project in their workplace. Though it only takes a few days, the results can be amazing with lowered costs, streamlined processes and more satisfied customers. Charts are available upon request that outline the results from a few of our recent workshops.

Call 765-778-9999 ext. 302 for more info. The workshop is listed on GSA Schedule GS10F0238R


To start seeing results like this in your facility, speak with Continental Design's Director of Lean Manufacturing today. Call 800 875-4557 ext. 317, or send an email.

Continental Design & Engineering · (765) 778-9999 · (800) 875-4557
1524 Jackson Street, Anderson, Indiana, USA 46016 · Contact / Email
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