The term “lean manufacturing” is ironically overused. In its worst expression it is a euphemism for cutting corners, lowering cost and quality at the same time. This is the making of the classic race to the bottom that devastated the US furniture industry. With this operating model it is only a matter of time before it costs less to buy a superior product from off shores than it does to make a lower quality product in-house.
The traditional justification is some variation on the theme that is it is difficult to compete with countries that have inexpensive labor and non-existent environmental policies. And while those statements are arguable in light of contemporary technology, automation, cost of shipping and global standards, the simple truth remains that it is impossible to compete if you are not in the game. The moment a manufacturer becomes a middleman, it becomes vulnerable should its supplier ever decide to eliminate waste and sell direct.
That is the worst case. In its best expression lean manufacturing eliminates waste without compromising quality. It is a concept that may be applied, to greater or lesser degree, to nearly any process. Eastern Millwork Inc. is a premium architectural millwork firm that has embraced the most advanced manufacturing processes and machinery to ensure maximum quality and value for every project. Andrew Campbell, President of EMI was enamored with carpentry from a young age. While still in high school, he started building specialty custom projects in small “pop-up” work sites adjacent to larger projects. The people he purchased materials from began to recognize him and he was offered work in different building capacities, eventually finding himself in manufacturing. Early on Campbell observed that inefficiency in processing was unsustainable, so when he started his own small millwork operation he was very deliberate. Through investment in automation and technology, as well as recruitment of personnel from both European industry and academia, EMI has earned a reputation for engineering projects that no one else can figure out. From information management to production and installation, EMI has reduced all non-value added operations from their supply chain, while at the same time integrating information technology for unprecedented accuracy and efficiency. Since its inception in 1992 EMI has grown not to be the biggest, but certainly one of the best architectural millwork companies operating today. Located in Jersey City, NJ EMI works primarily in the New York City region in conjunction with general builder and construction firms like Turner Construction. Read “A Well-Crafted Connection” on page 20 to learn how EMI’s investment in integrated BIM software and advanced manufacturing processes made Rockefeller University’s $4.8 million Collaborative Research Center project possible.
Read the Article A Well-Crafted Connection
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