MEDRAD named top lean company in AME competition

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

In a competitive and increasingly challenging marketplace, seven companies have achieved a level of remarkable, sustained excellence this year and have been formally acknowledged by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. At its International Lean Conference in Toronto, AME named seven Manufacturing Excellence Award Winners who have distinguished themselves in both competitiveness and profitability from 2007 to 2008. Honorees include the 2008 national winner, Pittsburgh-based MEDRAD Heilman Center Electro-Mechanical Manufacturing Plant, a worldwide leading provider of medical devices and services that enable and enhance imaging procedures of the human body, who also won in the Mid-Atlantic Region.


“As always, our Manufacturing Excellence Award winners truly reflect the individual success stories of Lean,” said AME’s president, Ralph Keller. “No two Lean journeys are alike, and these impressive winners have distinguished themselves as the cream of the crop with focused determination and innovation in a year rocked by a challenging economy. The contributions of these selected companies reflect the very best in the manufacturing industry today.”


AME’s Manufacturing Excellence Awards recognize and honor organizations that are using effective strategies to improve competitiveness and profitability. AME recognizes companies using a particularly effective improvement technique, which should be shared with other organizations to promote productivity and quality throughout North America. Regional winners are chosen from states in each of AME’s nine geographic regions by AME judges, with the national winner named from among the regional winners. AME’s regions include Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-Western, North Central, Northeastern, Southeastern, Southwestern, Western and Canadian. No regional winners were named in 2008 for either the Western or Great Lakes regions, respectively.


Below are AME’s 2008 Manufacturing Excellence Award Winners:


MEDRAD Heilman Center Electro-Mechanical Manufacturing Plant, Pittsburgh

AME Manufacturing Excellence National Award and Mid-Atlantic Regional Award Winner: The MEDRAD Heilman Center Plant was honored by AME especially for flexibility in both its workforce and assembly system, as well as taking an innovative approach to Lean that was far from textbook. The Heilman Center’s long continuous improvement history and approach is exemplified in its problem-solving approach dubbed IMAGES, an integrated improvement method that moves from identifying problems and opportunities to sustaining improvement over time. MEDRAD, Inc., is a worldwide leading provider of medical devices and services that enable and enhance imaging procedures of the human body. A leader in the forefront of new technology, MEDRAD products help to enhance 30 million medical images annually. The Heilman Center contains MEDRAD’s vascular injection system production, magnetic resonance coils and accessories production and new product development and testing labs. The facility also is home to MEDRAD’s Field Service and Multi-Vendor Service businesses. Used in diagnostic imaging, MEDRAD’s product offerings include a comprehensive line of vascular injection systems, magnetic resonance (MR) surface coils and patient care products, and equipment services. The Heilman Center employs a staff of 300 and generated 2007 revenues of $153.6 million.


Abbott, AP16 Plant, Global Pharmaceutical Operations, Abbott Park, Illinois

AME Midwest Regional MEA Award Winner: Abbott Laboratories’ AP16 Plant employs 370 people occupying 245,000 square feet at its Abbott Park, Ill., location. This manufacturer and packager of pharmaceutical products such as coated and uncoated tablets, capsules, powders, liquids and syringes was acknowledged especially for the plant’s team-based root cause problem solving (RCPS) and kaizen successes, both of which served as the basis for AP16’s lean journey four years ago. Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 68,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. In 2007, Abbott’s AP16 Plant generated revenues of approximately $250 million.


Electri-Cable Assemblies, Shelton, Connecticut

AME Northeast Regional MEA Award Winner: Electri-Cable is a leading designer and manufacturer of power, data and electrical solutions for the office furniture industry. ECA received kudos in part for transitioning successfully to Lean practices without the use of outside consultants and working instead with its internal team to achieve common ground and teach problem-solving skills. Using lean to learn from past experiences, Electri-Cable significantly increased revenues and reduced lead times. The company’s power and data modules extends from high-end troughs used in conference room applications to simple power data grommets used in training table, library and educational applications. Its power data grommets can be customized with their large selection of data communications options from many of the leading connector manufacturers including Seimons, Avaya and Amp. Electri-Cable also offers a complete line of modular electrical wiring systems that can be easily integrated into many panel and furniture designs. Sixty employees occupy Shelton’s 35,000-square-foot facility. Electri-Cable Assemblies’ 2007 revenue was under $10 million.


Kraft Foods Global Inc., Oakville Plant, Oakville, Ontario

AME Canadian Regional MEA Award Winner: Kraft’s Oakville Plant principally produces specialty coffee for the Kraft North America Beverage and Foodservice business units. From strategy deployment to employee suggestions, Kraft Foods Global Inc., Oakville plant, uses visual management with its staff of 55 to run plant operations and drive continuous improvement success. Kraft is one of the world's largest food and beverage companies with annual revenues exceeding $37 billion, more than 100,000 employees and more than 180 manufacturing and processing facilities globally. The company is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 index as well as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index. The Kraft Foods Global Inc. Oakville Plant encompasses 98,000 square feet in two buildings with 2007 revenues of $74 million.


Luminant, Martin Lake Complex, Tatum, Texas

AME Southwestern Regional MEA Award Winner: From mining and transporting raw material to the production of electricity to the sale of waste products, Luminant integrates continuous improvement practices throughout a variety of job functions, achieving success across the board. Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings (EFH), is a competitive power generation business, which includes Luminant Power, Luminant Energy (formerly Wholesale), Luminant Mining, Luminant Construction and Luminant Development. Luminant has over 18,300 megawatts of generation in Texas, including 2,300 MW of nuclear and 5,800 MW of coal-fueled generation capacity. The company is also the largest purchaser of wind-generated electricity in Texas and fifth largest in the United States Luminant provides 2,395 megawatts of net capacity, making it the largest plant in Texas. The Martin Lake Complex employs 925 at a three-unit, 2400 MW, Supercritical Lignite/PRB fired generation facility.


Medtronic CardioVascular, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

AME North Central Regional MEA Award Winner: Medtronic is a global leader in the medical technology industry whose revascularization and surgical therapies (RST) perfusion systems are used in open heart and coronary bypass grafting surgeries. Part of Medtronic’s winning philosophy is that success breeds success and sustains Lean. Standardization in its Lean training curriculum and Lean events, together with accountability with the emphasis on measurement systems, metrics and goal-setting plus employee involvement and empowerment helped Medtronic achieve this year’s Manufacturing Excellence North Central Regional Award. With 38,000 employees globally, 350 make up the Brooklyn Park site in a space of 100,000 square feet. Revenues for 2007 were $212 million.


Schneider Electric, Seneca, South Carolina

AME Southeastern Regional MEA Award Winner: Low-voltage motor control centers, enclosed drives, fabricated sheet metal and copper components are the specialties of Schneider Electric’s Seneca plant. The plant proved that Lean works in a job-shop facility that fabricates 10,000 different parts and builds custom engineered products from 100,000 different components. In the three-year period from 2005 through 2007, the Seneca plant realized $5 million in labor and other variable expense productivity, thanks to lean. As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation, and data centers/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications. Focused on making energy safe, reliable and efficient, Schneider Electric’s 120,000 total employees achieved sales of more than 17.3 billion Euros in 2007, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations “Make the most of their energy”. Schneider Electric is best known in North America as one its leading brands, Square D Company. At the Seneca plant, they employ a staff of 801 within the 380,000-square-foot facility. Seneca’s 2007 revenues totaled $200 million.


About the Association for Manufacturing Excellence Manufacturing Excellence Awards

AME’s Manufacturing Excellence Awards recognize and honor organizations that are using effective strategies to improve competitiveness and profitability. AME will recognize companies using a particularly effective improvement technique, which should be shared with other organizations to promote productivity and quality throughout North America. The winner of the award will be honored at the AME Annual Conference and be recognized through media releases and the award presentation. The winner will be asked to share its successes at the annual AME conference or events. The AME regional presidents comprise the screening committee that reviews applications for adherence to established criteria and performance metrics. Continuous performance improvement over a period of time (i.e., three years) will be considered in the nomination and selection process; however, improvements in the award year will be weighted more heavily. There will NOT be any formal feedback process to applicants that are not selected. Two finalists from each region will be presented for selection of an overall winner. Each region will select one finalist to receive its regional award. The presentation of the award and recognition of the winner will be made at the AME Annual Conference. The annual winner of the award will be announced through press releases in their geographical area, in Chicago (vicinity of AME Headquarters), and in the city where AME hosts its fall conference annually. Regional finalists will also be acknowledged at the Annual Conference and at an AME event conducted in their respective region.


About the Association for Manufacturing Excellence

The Association for Manufacturing Excellence is a not-for-profit association of over 5,000 members dedicated to the sharing of knowledge on leading-edge topics that help companies stay competitive in a global marketplace. AME cultivates understanding, helps members analyze and exchange ideas on productivity methods, and teaches how these methods can be successfully applied in the pursuit of excellence. Since its founding in 1985, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence has expanded its focus beyond manufacturing to many functional areas of the enterprise and into many industries, all of which benefit from advanced management techniques. AME is practitioner-based, and its events and workshops focus on hands-on learning and knowledge exchange among peers. For more information visit or email

Subscribe to Reliable Plant

About the Author