Great Lakes Window® Adopts Operational Excellence Initiative

Great Lakes Window of Toledo, Ohio, has launched an operational excellence initiative.

Utilizing the principles of lean and Six Sigma manufacturing, operational excellence focuses on eliminating waste during the manufacturing process so that quality is central, production time is condensed and cost is reduced.

"Our ultimate goal is to significantly enhance our overall level of service. That starts with our production processes and ends in complete customer satisfaction," said Greg Irving, vice president and general manager.

"We needed to more clearly define a set of quality guidelines and practices at Great Lakes Window," said Jeff Klein, president. "Operational excellence has been integrated into our company's core strategy and is designed to create a working environment in which we will continue to grow and exceed customer expectations."

The company has adopted the five S's and Six Sigma procedures, as well as robust process quality controls as part of the initiative.

Six Sigma is a statistical program that emphasizes data collection to design out variation. The five S's are sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain the manufacturing process. Other key procedures include a metrics-based system, layered process audits red label processing and team leadership.

"We currently are exceeding our objectives for internal quality performance metrics and external customer quality, and the trends are continuing upward," said Jim Smercina, plant manager.

"As the total number of reworks has decreased our supplier satisfaction level and overall production efficiency has increased," Smercina added. "What that means is that with the refined quality measures in place, we've entered an improvement trend that continues to climb."

"We've noticed a shift in the manufacturer's focus to ensure that the needs of homeowners are being met," said Terri Lodwick of All American Window and Door Co. Inc., a long-time Great Lakes Window dealer that services the Greater Milwaukee area. "This increased awareness of our customers' needs, along with the refined manufacturing and delivery processes at Great Lakes Window continues to help us meet our core business objectives."


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