Dielectric Communications has completed a 12-month process culminating in the implementation of lean manufacturing, a management philosophy that is helping the company to reduce waste before and during production, maintain stringent quality levels, and ensure that customers receive products faster than ever with minimized lead times.

 

Dielectric produces broadcast equipment, pressurization products and custom radio frequency components for commercial, military, and industrial applications, both in the United States and around the world.

"We've tailored the core principles of lean to ensure that our customers continue to benefit from custom-built broadcast solutions while also realizing the benefits of a streamlined production workflow," said Dielectric Communications president David Wilson. "We look at what we are doing as a comprehensive approach to increasing customer value by reducing non-value-added activities while maintaining high-quality production."

Following training of approximately 120 Dielectric employees at the University of Tennessee, the University of Kentucky and internally sponsored training events, the company has implemented several of the key principles of lean. These principles include working with customers to better understand "value" as seen through their eyes; working with suppliers to prevent errors and reduce waste in the supply chain; and value-stream mapping, redesigning and streamlining internal processes to reduce non-value-added activities and improve lead times.

By developing the Dielectric Antenna System Planning (DASP) software, the company is also allowing its customers to see which products are readily available and then electronically customize configurations with the assistance of Dielectric's engineers.

Dielectric has adopted the "perfect first-time quality" principle of lean manufacturing, which seeks to eliminate product defects by using standardized work and resolving any potential problems at the source. The company also utilizes Six Sigma techniques to reduce processing variations in the plant that could cause potential defects and tracks these variations to better address them. In addition, Dielectric has taken the entire organization through a "5-S" exercise – a clean-up process that eliminates non-essential items in the operations, creates a system for arranging tools in an orderly and accessible manner, and standardizes cleanliness and safety practices in the plants.

Dielectric is leveraging lean to accelerate the delivery of customer value and continuous improvement.