Recently Larry Coburn, the Sr. VP of Operations at Crown Audio, gave a presentation at the Aberdeen Manufacturing Excellence Summit. We recorded his talk, and you can watch it online.

I really enjoyed Larry’s talk because he doesn’t pull any punches. He understands how manufacturing drives the economy, and he has a powerful antidote to all the economic gloom and doom that we’re hearing:

I don’t like being a victim. When I hear manufacturing guys talk about being victims, I say, “It’s your choice. You can be a victim if you want, but I don’t recommend it.” I think you should always work to not be a victim. Do what you got to do and be a leader.

Woven in the presentation is one insight that you don’t want to miss. Larry tells the story of touring a competitor’s site (a laugh out loud experience – this guy has nerve) and learning that they’ve invested $8 million in a new factory that produced a solid product in a fraction of the time it took them to make their product. He brought that news back to his staff and challenged them to implement lean and quality improvements without an $8 million investment.

We just can’t give up. And how we gonna do it without eight million dollars? Because if we take away the demand (for product) that eight million is a boat anchor they got to pay, not us.

His team’s efforts resulted in a 90% improvement in Fabrication Lead Time, a 90% improvement in Circuit Board Assembly Lead Time, a 85% improvement in Efficiency, and a 92% reduction in absenteeism. All without an $8 Million capital expenditure.

During the presentation you’ll hear Larry talk about the importance of having the Right Data, in the Right Format, at the Right Time.

Nothing’s worse than working on two‑week-old data trying to make some good decision’s on it. It just drives you crazy. You can’t get anywhere.

In another conversation he told me:

We’ve always had tons of data, but not enough knowledge. GainSeeker gives us the knowledge to eliminate the finger pointing and focus on solving the problems. Plus it gives us the data in real-time, so now we walk into a production meeting with an up-to-the-minute yield report, with a prioritized list of what we need to work on.

If you’d like more information about Crown’s journey, you can also check out this feature story in Industry Week Magazine. Also check out Scoreboard Dashboards at Crown displays test results and pack information of each of five lines.