Honda to share best practices at lean conference

Reliable Plant
Tags: lean manufacturing

Superior operations. Proactive care and maintenance. A focus on functional flexibility, process wellness and reliability.

Healthy manufacturing. This is the essence of Honda.

Noria Corporation’s Reliable Plant magazine offers a rare opportunity to learn best practices from Honda, one of the world’s most quality-driven companies, at its “Lean Manufacturing 2007: Lean Tools for Maintenance & Reliability” conference, to be held October 1-3 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. In a highlight case study on October 2 that is titled “Overcoming the Challenges of Lean in Facilities Maintenance,” Honda plant services division manager Mark LaRue will outline the auto manufacturer’s path to lean maintenance and reliability excellence.

In today's competitive manufacturing environment, maintenance professionals are tasked with improving the manpower efficiency of the maintenance operation, while rising to the task of limiting downtime and providing effective maintenance programs. Past solutions have included limiting the number of maintenance associates with an emphasis on multidiscipline capability. The inherent weak point is that, eventually, strong expertise is needed. How can you solve this problem without increasing the overall direct labor cost or overcontracting with large numbers of specialized suppliers? Honda Manufacturing of Alabama has chosen to outsource all of the facilities maintenance function. The organization chart is more of a flat line, where barriers are removed, allowing for a smoother workflow and a higher quality of work while still achieving cost targets. In this presentation, LaRue will explain why HMA chose to outsource its facilities maintenance and how it has managed the outsource relationship over the last six years. He will also discuss some additional benefits that HMA did not originally anticipate.

This is a rare opportunity to learn from and benchmark with Honda.

Mark LaRue is responsible for all of the facility, environmental and associate general services at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. LaRue joined the Alabama Project team in May 1999, and was the first associate from Honda of America Manufacturing in Marysville, Ohio, to relocate to Alabama. During the construction of HMA, LaRue was the facilities project leader and was responsible for the engineering, construction management and infrastructure development at HMA’s construction site.


LaRue joined Honda in 1987 at the Marysville Auto Plant. Prior to joining HMA, LaRue served as facilities manager at the Marysville Auto Plant, where he led several construction projects. Before joining Honda, LaRue was a design engineer at Liebert Corporation, responsible for the development of uninterruptible power supplies.


LaRue holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Ohio State University.

Do not miss this important case study.

Honda is just one of the benchmark companies that will speak at the Lean Manufacturing 2007 conference in Cleveland. Other companies that will have top corporate, plant and departmental leaders present keynote addresses and case studies include Toyota, Harley-Davidson, Eli Lilly, Eastman Chemical, Energizer Battery, AstenJohnson and Nordson. Dr. Jay Lee, whose Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems at the University of Cincinnati is on the forefront of predictive maintenance research, will also provide a special presentation during the event.

To learn more about the conference and to read a full biography on Honda’s Mark LaRue and other speakers, visit

To get a glimpse into Honda’s innovative M&R work, read the Reliable Plant case study “The Honda Way” by clicking on the link below:

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