Rockwell Collins Lends Expertise To Local Prison to Reduce Manufacturing Floor Space and Improve Flow

Iowa Prison Industries (IPI) provides work training to those incarcerated at Iowa’s state prisons. More than 90% of offenders in state prison are scheduled to be released, and their goal is to teach them how to get and keep a job, once they get out. To help with the job training, the prison provides manufacturing services to create products that are sold to State of Iowa governmental agencies, school districts, and non-profit groups.

IPI was looking to improve their manufacturing practices to increase capacity and reduce waste. They wanted to conduct a Value Stream Mapping (VSM) and 5S event, but wanted some outside knowledge and experience from private industry, since it was one of their first events at this location (see other Lean activities at IPI).

Rockwell Collins, an aerospace manufacturer located nearby in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was asked by Dan Clark, Director of IPI, to assist with this effort. They also received help and support from the State of Iowa Department of Management’s Office of Lean Enterprise.

They have 8 different manufacturing divisions within their Anamosa (Iowa) prison: Custom Wood, Metal Furniture, Filters & Soap, Housekeeping & Laundry, Sign, Graphic Arts, License Plates and Braille.

The scope of the VSM event was narrowed to the Filters & Soap division. The goals for the VSM event were to:

  • create capacity for other cleaning chemicals currently done at another plant
  • utilize the 5S process to improve utilization of existing space and resources
  • eliminate waste
  • create better flow
  • create standard work.

Rockwell Collins Lean consultants Julie Stull and Carl Zemanek facilitated the VSM event on the Filters product line, and helped the team identify numerous opportunities to improve the layout and flow. They also conducted a 5S audit, and helped the team improve their score from a 1 to a 3 (where 5 is the best score).

As a result of the VSM and 5S activities, the team was able to free up roughly 400 square feet of space that they can now use exclusively for chemical production, and reduced distance traveled by 20%. They were also able to redesign the RAM table area to eliminate wasted motion, and combined 2 GUI computers onto 1 desk (photo above) to free up more space, and standardize the location. These are just a few of the improvements made.

In addition, a tour was setup for the leadership team to visit the Rockwell Collins Coralville (Iowa) facility, to benchmark their Lean activity, and bring back ideas that can be implemented within the prison.

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