Davidson, Paul. "Lean Manufacturing Helps Companies Survive." USA Today 02 Nov. 2009, Money sec.: 1b. Print.
Sealy was the world’s top mattress maker in 2009. Before implementing a newer method of manufacturing they were inefficient, wasting resources, and often times so sloppy they were damaging this products minutes after they were produced. Sealy was able to remain profitable during the recession by switching to a lean manufacturing system. They were able to improve their inefficiencies by producing each mattress one at a time in an uninterrupted flow rather than their previous method, which involved unfinished batches. By producing only what the customers order they were ale to cut billions of dollars in inventory. The big advantages are less material handling, less movement, and less damage to the product. This did lead the company into workforce decisions, which were handled eloquently my top executives. In order to scale back decided to cut temporary staff instead of layoffs. Even though workforce was reduced by 30%, their productivity was up 50%. The biggest changes made were the layout of the factory and the order of operations. They were able to deliberately place processes of the production line and also strategically plan the timing of production. Once in place, they were able to cut the production of one mattress from 21 hours down to 4 hours. But they didn’t stop there; they cut their raw materials by 50% and eliminated thousands of square feet of “work-in-process”. All things combined, they were able to double their productions shifts by operating side by side. The cost pressures of the industry forced Sealy to produce cheaper and more efficiently, which they were able to effectively do through lean manufacturing.
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