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OpEx in the Hands of the Workers

Lean Practices Keep Monaghan at the Top of their Field

Respect for the people. It’s the number one tenet of a Lean culture. The people who are doing the work actually know the best ways to do the work.

It seems simple and straightforward enough, but in the context of running a manufacturing facility, meeting deadlines, sourcing material, managing finances, juggling legal requirements, and everything else that happens on a daily basis, respect for the people can easily get overrun and overlooked. Monaghan Medical is one of the companies we are working with this year that is prioritizing this concept as they revisit some of their processes with improvement goals. 

Based in Plattsburgh, the company produces aerosol drug delivery devices and respiratory management products for all kinds of respiratory diseases. 

In response to COVID 19, it was critical for Monaghan to be able to deliver product to customers with no delays, and react quickly to changing needs in the marketplace. Through the pandemic they quickly pivoted to meet customer demand, and as the pandemic slowed, it became time to refine what they had done. 

Monaghan chose to involve all levels of production employees to help find ways to improve their processes. CITEC led around 80 workers in Lean 101 training, which covers the fundamentals of Lean manufacturing. Participants were then send on waste hunts through their cells, which led to immediate improvements within their work areas.

Monaghan polled participants in that program to see who would be interested in a deeper dive; a Lean White Belt program with ten full training days and a project component. They got 23 hands raised, so they chose ten for the first round and will do another round within a few months. 

That LWB training not only led to improvements but management could see that participants truly internalized their learning and continue to make improvements on a daily basis. 

Along the way, Monaghan’s marketing team realized that they needed Lean refreshers as well, for a couple of crucial reasons. First, they needed to let their clients know that just as hospitals use Lean concepts and tools in their practices, Monaghan uses those same vehicles to ensure quality in their products. More importantly, however, Monaghan’s marketing team sees the need to offer their products in ways that make it as easy as possible to deploy those products in the field.

Integrating operational excellence and a continuous improvement mindset throughout the whole company is one way that Monaghan stays at the top of their field.