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Niagara Transformer Corp.

Changing a Culture with Lean Efficiency

Before Niagara Transformer’s current facility expansion got under way, the Buffalo business was seeking to overcome space challenges and shift manufacturing emphasis from smaller-sized electric power transformers to larger units. A New York State Department of Labor grant kick-started the company’s introduction to the waste-eliminating operational approach of Lean in 2005. Application of the methodology enabled efficiency gains across all departments and, since then, Lean practices continue to drive change in the engineering, manufacturing and purchasing departments with UB TCIE’s assistance. Niagara Transformer President John Darby calls the engagement a work in progress that has improved flow and communication, lowered costs, and increased productivity.

Solutions:

  • Utilized simulation modeling tools, coupled with a Lean perspective, to analyze the feasibility and efficiency of a proposed new facility layout
  • Provided a Lean foundation in eliminating waste to nearly a dozen engineers and purchasing department personnel
  • Through value stream mapping activities, gained insight into decision-making and process flow of product design and procurement
  • Elevated staff knowledge of material control and inventory management with custom training
  • Received support for continuous improvement activities in operations, engineering and procurement divisions with a TCIE Lean Executive-on-Loan professional
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