H.C. Starck Inc. is not a household name. However, H.C. Starck is the quintessential global company that participates in and benefits the entire world economy. It is that global network of manufacturers that the company, a manufacturer of refractory metals, technical ceramics and chemicals for the electronics industry, utilizes when looking for ways to improve its operations.
In 2006, the company was growing and expanding and consolidated its smaller manufacturing operations into its Euclid, Ohio, location, which serves as the company’s U.S. headquarters, doubling its manufacturing capacity. However, growth by itself was not enough for the company and Dmitry Shashkov, CEO of H.C. Starck’s Fabricated Products Business Unit, to survive in a global economy.
So company leaders went to the drawing board and looked at the possibilities for further improvement. H.C. Starck started by taking a page out of the automotive manufacturing approach. It implemented the Japanese management philosophy of 5S. The 5S system is designed to reduce waste and optimize productivity through maintaining an orderly workplace and using visual cues to achieve more consistent operational results.
The company then took the next step in its evolution by adopting the principles of lean manufacturing to create change in the way the company did business. H.C. Starck hired lean manufacturing engineers and also trained employees on the practice. The combination of tools, methods and principles, coupled with the mindset and behaviors of the employees, allowed for a rapid rise in quality, productivity and a streamlining of material logistics.
Not satisfied quite yet, H.C. Starck implemented a continuous improvement program and began weekly kaizen events to create more change for the better. These improvement events have helped H.C. Starck reduce manufacturing lead times by 50 percent and have increased on-time deliveries from 70 to 98 percent.
All of these changes and more are vital to the company’s existence today. These changes have allowed the company to remain competitive in a global market in a time when companies were either going out of business or laying off good workers. Without the ability to evolve and adapt in a way to better its business over the past three years, H.C. Starck might not have survived. Due to the company’s dedication and continuous improvement methods, it’s in a prime position to prosper.
HOW TO REACH: H.C. Starck Inc., (216) 692-3990 or www.hcstarck.com