Learn how to achieve operational excellence during the conference program at Assembly and Automation Technology Expo this month.



The world of automation and assembly is filled with variable demand, multiple changeovers and increasingly complex products. Lean manufacturing and operational excellence are key methodologies for meeting these challenges.

During the conference program at Assembly and Automation Technology Expo (AATExpo) this month, engineers can learn how concepts such as one-piece flow, first-in first-out lanes, takt time and pitch can create stability and flow in assembly lines. The three-day program will teach how to apply the principles of operational excellence throughout all areas of an organization-from the front office to the shop floor to the supply chain.

AATExpo will be held Sept. 28-30 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, immediately adjacent to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Sponsored by ASSEMBLY magazine, AATExpo is co-located with five other shows: Medical Design & Manufacturing Midwest, Green Manufacturing Expo, Design & Manufacturing Midwest, Electronics Midwest and Plastec Midwest.

AATExpo is your one-stop shop for assembly-related equipment and materials, including automated assembly systems, adhesive dispensing equipment, robots, conveyors, parts feeders, metal and plastic welding equipment, adhesives and sealants, fasteners, vision systems, power tools, presses, workstations, process monitoring systems, and test and inspection equipment.

A single entry badge allows attendees to visit all six shows. If you preregister online or bring show material with you on-site, admission to the shows is free. Otherwise, you will be charged an expo-only fee of $55 to register on-site. Online registration is available even on show days.

For more information, exhibitor lists and to register for free show admission, visit any of the show web sites: www.aatexpo.com, www.dm-midwest.com, www.electronicsmidwest.com, www.mdmmidwest.com, www.greenmfgexpo.com and www.plastecmidwest.com.

The AATExpo conference program was co-produced by Canon Communications and the Institute for Operational Excellence. Kevin J. Duggan, the institute’s founder, kicks things off at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28, with a one-hour keynote address, “Achieving Operational Excellence and Creating a Business That Is Designed to Grow.”

The Tuesday workshops run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a two-hour lunch from noon to 2 p.m. The Wednesday and Thursday workshops from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a two-hour lunch from noon to 2 p.m.

The workshops will be taught by Kirk Bolton and Gene Burk, who are senior faculty members at the institute.

Conference registration is $445, $645 and $795 for one, two or three days, respectively.

Tuesday, Sept. 28

Value Stream Flow in Business Processes to Achieve Operational Excellence
Kirk Bolton

Based on the recently released book The Office That Grows Your Business, this workshop teaches how lean value streams build operational excellence in the office environment. This intermediate workshop will show you how to design an office that creates operational excellence.

It’s not done by brainstorming or kaizens, but rather by specific design principles that apply to business processes. The key lean concepts that are covered include: process families, binary connections, workflow cycles, processing cells, integration events, single point initialization and pitch.

The result of this design is an office that flows information and captures knowledge, which ultimately results in business growth. Participants will leave this workshop not only with the knowledge of how to create flow in the office, but flow that ‘self-heals’ when interruptions occur, all without management. This innovative concept has led companies to ‘jump’ to operational excellence in their office environments.

Value Stream Flow in Manufacturing for Operational Excellence
Gene Burk

This intermediate workshop teaches how to design a value stream that utilizes lean flow to achieve operational excellence. Through the use of a current-state map, which illustrates ‘a day in the life of a part,’ this workshop allows participants to see the flow of value to the customer.

From there, the workshop will cover how to construct a future-state map to build a lean flow, which is the first step toward operational excellence. Key guidelines include takt time, finished goods strategy, continuous flow, first-in first-out, pull, scheduling one point, interval scheduling, and pitch. The workshop concludes with the beginning steps of an implementation plan.

Wednesday, Sept. 29

Creating Mixed-Model Value Streams
Gene Burk

Based on the best-selling book Creating Mixed-Model Value Streams, this workshop teaches participants how to create operational excellence in an environment of high product complexity, varying demand, and multiple processes. This advanced workshop brings operational excellence right to the floor by teaching advanced lean techniques for complex flow including: balancing methods for flow, establishing intervals, scheduling with logic charts, and other techniques that build a ‘binary flow’ in complex operations.

Building the Lean Supply Chain for Operational Excellence
Kirk Bolton

The principles of operational excellence create flow through a lean value stream by linking processes together with robust, binary connections. However, these connections usually end at the receiving dock.

This intermediate workshop will provide participants with a methodology to create robust connections in the supply chain to extend the value stream. In this session, several types of supplier connections will be taught and demonstrated through an in-depth, hands-on simulation.

After participating in a future-state simulation, participants will learn the lean techniques to integrate suppliers into their value streams. These techniques include understanding supplier capability in terms of mix and volume, load-leveling planning, scheduling intervals, finished goods strategies, information flows, and supplier improvement techniques. These connections not only create flow, they also allow us to see when flow breaks down, which is key to building operational excellence in the supply chain.

Thursday, Sept. 30

Creating Advanced Flow Through Shared Resources
Gene Burk

The first step in building lean value streams is to create true flow. The hardest place to create flow is the spaghetti flow of shared resources. This advanced workshop provides methods for handling the complexities of machine shops, monument equipment and high capital equipment to achieve operational excellence.

Learn how to ‘straighten out the spaghetti’ through product and process family development techniques. Discover how to handle batch processes and variable rework flows through shared resources. All of this allows employees to see the flow of value to the customer through the most complicated of process flows, enabling companies to achieve operational excellence.

3P for Operational Excellence
Kirk Bolton

Creating flow is the most effective and efficient way to deliver any good or service to a customer. This advanced session will teach how to introduce new products or processes into a lean flow. The focus is on aggressively removing process waste by showing the flow of the new product as it is currently designed.

Next, the participants will be taught through hands-on training methods how to use various lean techniques to generate ideas for flow. For products or processes not yet available, we test or simulate these new ideas through the use of cardboard, duct tape, and other simple props to create a live mock up. This is the true workshop for introducing new products into an operational excellence environment!