Don Nelson
UGN, Inc. Hires Lean Manufacturing Leader Donald Nelson as COO

TINLEY PARK, Illinois (June 7, 2018)—UGN, Inc. has selected manufacturing veteran Donald Nelson as the company’s new chief operating officer.

“Donald Nelson is a proven lean manufacturing leader who has a history of instituting game-changing sales and operations processes,” said Peter Anthony, president and CEO of UGN, Inc.

“The lean manufacturing methodology is a best practice in automotive manufacturing circles,” Mr. Anthony added.  “It’s always been crucial to our success at UGN, and Donald’s expertise and dedication to lean tactics is just one of the many reasons we’re happy to have him aboard.”

Mr. Nelson has also held senior operational positions in the automotive and aerospace sectors. Prior to UGN, he was the head of Global Operations for a $200 million publicly-traded manufacturing organization. In this role, he instituted Lean Transformation and Change Management principles which resulted in significant productivity increases and saved millions in annual operating costs.

Mr. Nelson officially started at UGN, Inc. on Thursday, May 31st, 2018, and reports to Mr. Anthony as part of the executive team.

“I’m very excited to be working at a company like UGN,” Mr. Nelson said. “It’s a great opportunity to take on the role of COO during this period of continued growth,” he added, referencing recent news regarding the new facility in Silao, Mexico.

About UGN, Inc.

Founded in 1986 as a partnership between Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co. Ltd., (Nittoku) and Autoneum Holding AG, UGN, Inc., is the preferred producer of high-quality acoustic, interior trim, and thermal management products, and a recognized leader in customer satisfaction for the Japanese transplant automotive industry in North America.  

UGN, with more than $415 million in revenue, has six locations in the United States—Novi, Michigan; Jackson, Tennessee; Monroe, Ohio; Somerset, Kentucky; Tinley Park, Illinois; and Valparaiso, Indiana; as well as a location in Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico—specializing in manufacturing, research, development, testing, and service support.

How to Use Value Stream Mapping to Eliminate WasteThrough value stream mapping, you can visualize any production process and identify waste in both production and design processes. You don't need expensive solutions, the most important tool in implementing lean manufacturing to reduce waste may be the most low-tech thing on your desk: A pencil.

What is Value Stream Mapping?

In its simplest form, value stream mapping is a visualization tool tracing a product family's path backwards from the customer. The exact structure may vary, but one common method involves drawing steps that add value across the map's center and placing non-value-adding steps vertically at right angles to the value stream. Though a value stream map can be created with in-depth research, many leaders also draw rough value stream maps while observing a manufacturing process as it takes place.

The ultimate goal of value stream mapping is the creation of a future state map, which lays out a vision for the implementation of a value-adding flow in the production and design of products or the delivery of services. Setting a current value stream map and a future state map side by side provides leaders with a valuable, yet simple, method of demonstrating the need to eliminate waste in an organization.

Value Stream Mapping as an Introduction to Lean Manufacturing

If you are not already working in a lean environment, you can argue powerfully for adoption of lean practices by presenting a value stream map  demonstrating waste. Whether you identify a feature that fails to add value for the customer or an unnecessary movement slowing production, if your suggestions increase efficiency and improve product flow, you'll boost profitability.

When creating your first value stream map, consider reviewing others' maps and techniques. Many helpful resources are available online. Two particularly relevant books, both by Mark Rother (one co-authored with John Shook), are excerpted free through Google Books: Learning to See and Toyota Kata. A simple image search for "value stream map" also yields relevant examples.

Who Should Create a Value Stream Map?

Though anyone can draw a basic value stream map, some large organizations appoint one or more value stream managers responsible for understanding products from a value stream perspective. These individuals function as an antidote to siloing and miscommunication.

Though a value stream manager, if available, should take primary responsibility for building in-depth understanding of current value streams and creating future stream maps, any executive implementing lean methodologies should know how to read or draw a value stream map.

Quality and Your Value Stream

The most common objections to value stream mapping revolve around quality: "But what if eliminating a process the map shows as wasteful reduces product quality?"

In reality,  the opposite result is likely. Defects in quality are immensely disruptive to product flow and manufacturing efficiency. Likewise, inefficiency is immensely disruptive to customers' perceptions of quality. After all, the customer can hardly praise a product's quality if it hasn't been shipped due to a wasteful process delaying production.

Do you use value stream mapping in your organization?

chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram