Lean Manufacturing Past Participant Spotlight: Alejandro Cisneros
August 2, 2022
by Britney Rivers
Alejandro shares how he implemented the knowledge from Lean Manufacturing in his role as a manufacturing manager in the irrigation systems industry.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES?
Alejandro: I work for Hunter Industries, Inc. We manufacture landscaping irrigation systems. I have been working at the company for 9 years. Our headquarters are in San Marcos, California. I work for an international operation in Tijuana, Mexico. My current position is manufacturing manager.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE THE LEAN MANUFACTURING COURSE?
Alejandro: The company provided me with training through Nexus at the University of Michigan College of Engineering in 2017. I traveled to Ann Arbor to participate in the 2-week program.
At the time, I was transitioning from supervisor for the engineering department to manufacturing manager. Previously, I interacted with the molding department as a manufacturing engineer but not as a manager. I wanted to learn more about the manufacturing side of the operation.
WHAT WAS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE COURSE FOR YOU?
Alejandro: I was familiar with many of the manufacturing concepts discussed. However, the training gave me access to valuable tools I wasn’t aware of. When I returned from the training, I created and implemented a value-stream map for the molding area along with a core team of managers, supervisors, and process engineers. We started gathering data on non-value-added processes in the molding department. We analyzed the interactions between the molding department and other departments and shared the information with our core team members.
Together, we implemented an action plan to correct our current processes and enhance efficiency in the molding department. For example, I have the molded parts that we need to measure. The priorities that were given by production weren’t the same as the priorities given by the quality department to measure. Walking through our current manufacturing process helped us identify certain areas in our practices to improve upon.
We have a KPI that helped us measure the efficiency of our processes. We measured based on the time it takes to mold one piece. Originally, we completed the molding processes in 4 and a half hours. We reduced that time to 3.2 hours. When you have a big operation and machines that run 24 hours a day in certain departments, it can be challenging to make widespread changes. We still have opportunities for improvement.
WHAT WAS THE MOST VALUABLE ASPECT OF THE COURSE FOR YOU?
Alejandro: Value stream mapping was the most valuable part of the course. Walking through the map with my team helped improve our manufacturing processes.
As a leader in the manufacturing department of my company, my goal is to explain the knowledge and tools I acquired in the training to the supervisors and engineers. I also provide objectives and feedback to our employees. When there is a project, I think, ‘What tools are you going to use? What is the purpose of the project? What is your current state and what is your future state of the situation? What tools are you going to use to achieve future objectives?’
The tools I learned in Lean Manufacturing helped me gain a new perspective on the manufacturing side of the company. I was able to look at the big picture and see what areas I needed to focus my attention on.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS COURSE TO OTHERS?
Alejandro: Absolutely! The Lean Manufacturing certificate course was relevant to my industry. This training gave me the essential information I needed to know about the manufacturing side of the operation. The instructors were really knowledgeable. I had such a great experience that I recommended it to a colleague on my team. One of our engineers participated in the remote-live Lean Manufacturing certificate course and he had a great experience as well.