Toyota partners with PPE manufacturer to meet healthcare demand from pandemic

E. D. Bullard is a 100-year-old safety equipment manufacturer based in Kentucky. They faced significant challenges when the pandemic hit in early 2020.

Demand for respirators and face shields increased 30x per week than before COVID-19, and they had to figure out a way to meet this critical demand very quickly.

With the help of Toyota consultants from TSSC, they brought their TPS principles to assist them with increasing capacity.

As a result of reducing batch sizes to one piece flow, they were able increase capacity 10x overall (3-4x per shift across 3 shifts). They ultimately increased face shield production by 700% and eliminated the order backlog.

On the respirator line, the bottleneck was the calibration station (8 mins), and using their labs at Toyota in Georgetown, KY, they were able to reduce the time down under 4 minutes. As a result, they were able to increase customer delivery times by 85%, and produced more in one month than they produced in the previous year.

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