New Way®, a Lean Machine, Starting at the Factory

Japanese-inspired RCI program reveals paths to value & quality


Scranton, IA - As the fastest-growing manufacturer of refuse trucks in America, New Way® knew they were doing something right. Yet after studying advanced processes at the most efficient companies in the world, New Way® became challenged to lead the industry in lean manufacturing. The mission: cut production waste in order to achieve higher quality and maintain costs simultaneously, producing unsurpassed products for customers. In June of 2006, New Way® began implementing Kaizen, a Japanese theory of productivity which has been partially credited to the success of other international companies like Canon and Toyota.

The mission: cut production waste in order to achieve
higher quality and maintain costs simultaneously

Kaizen literally translates to mean “improvement”, and is based on many little changes which can be made throughout the company on a continued basis. At New Way's plant, a main aspect of the Rapid Continuous Improvement program (or RCI) brings together employees from various departments for 5-day Kaizen events. The teams can include anyone from the company president to factory cleaners, working together toward a specific common goal. The focus can vary from safety, quality, cost, and delivery. The bottom line is that New Way® is able to deliver a superior quality product while maintaining costs for its customers.

”We know that we always have to stay true to our motto of ‘Driving the Difference’,“ says New Way® president Michael McLaughlin, "Programs like RCI allow every worker here to understand the importance of customer satisfaction." McLaughlin says the plant has seen extended benefits they didn't quite expect. For one, in-progress inventory has been reduced enough to open up large spaces for future growth. "RCI has been a great success for us, and has even boosted company morale. Employees take pride in something they've had a part in building."

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