Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership

SCI IconLean Practices

Save money and increase efficiency with market-proven, Lean manufacturing tools and best-practices

Customers want more value for less money, even as the cost of materials and energy rise. Go Lean.
Lean identifies and eliminates waste while delivering dramatic results through continuous improvement.

The typical results of Lean are often dramatic:

  • Lead times cut 50-75%
  • Productivity raised 50-100%
  • First pass yields increased to over 95%
  • Cut costs or increase capacity without adding resources
  • Positive cash flows
  • Reduce inventories 50% or less, more than doubling your turns

WMEP’s Lean Manufacturing Services:

Value Stream Mapping

Looking to uncover waste and find out how to best streamline your manufacturing process? Value stream mapping (VSM) is the key. VSM, which allows you to take a high-level view of your process or value stream — then diagnose problems and implement changes — is the best way to identify the right areas for improvement so you can get lean and maximize your productivity. 

View the Value Stream Mapping Info Sheet

5S Visual Management

Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, Sustain — these are the 5S system’s basic steps to workplace organization and standardization. Based on a simple set of visual cues, 5S/Visual Management helps you quickly locate tools, materials, information and quantity limits, identify issues before they become problems and create ownership for your operators. This proven set of techniques will also help you improve quality, reduce changeover time, improve safety, improve employee morale and reduce storage costs, cycle time and machine down time.
View the 5S Info Sheet
Find out how Dalco Metals saved $50,000 as a result of 5S.

Quick Changeover

In today’s hyper-speed economy, manufacturers must be more responsive than ever to the constantly changing demands of their customers. Reducing batch sizes is the key. But with most manufacturers, changeover time is getting in the way. WMEP’s Setup Reduction/Quick Changeover can help. It reduces your batch sizes and WIP (Work-in-Process) as well as the amount of time your employees spend setting up machines to run new batches or orders. Don’t let changeover delays take a bite out of your profits.
View the Quick Changeover/Setup Reduction Info Sheet
View the Gusmer Enterprises Success Story


Kaizen is a Japanese word that means means "Continuous improvement of a process to create more value with less waste." 

“Kaizen Events” are quick-turnaround, high-impact, intensely focused Lean implementations designed to produce quick results — usually in five days or less — in capacity expansion, cost reduction and flexibility. With more than 10 years of experience implementing Lean in manufacturing facilities across Wisconsin, WMEP brings solid implementation skills, methods, and a strong results-oriented approach to your business.

View the Kaizen Info Sheet

Cell Flow Optimization

Cell Flow is a quick-results technique designed to radically improve your ability to build multiple products with minimum waste. It rearranges equipment and workstations to support a smooth flow of materials and components with minimal transport or delay — replacing traditional batching which slows down your processes. Cell Flow makes your company more competitive by shortening production lead times, saving factory space that can be used for other value-adding purposes, and promoting continuous improvement by addressing problems that block flow. Our manufacturing experts have implemented cell flow in hundreds of manufacturing firms across Wisconsin. 

View the Cell Flow Info Sheet

Total Productive Maintenance

One of the critical building blocks of the Lean process, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is an easy-to-implement system that allows you to increase your equipment’s capacity by 25%-60%, reduce maintenance costs by 10%-50%, eliminate overtime shifts and increase productivity and profits — all while preventing unexpected and potentially catastrophic machine breakdowns. Maximize your productivity and take a proactive approach to unplanned downtime with TPM! 

View the Total Productive Maintenance Info Sheet

HVLV Consulting Services

High Variety Low Volume (HVLV) Manufacturers have been feeling the pressure of smaller, more frequent orders for more SKUs with shorter expected lead times. Other trends like increased raw materials and energy costs can add even more challenges. Yet some have managed to respond to these higher customer expectations, maintaining dependable on-time delivery, without additional costs or resources.

WMEP can help you make these valuable gains with proven tools and techniques that fit your specific needs. WMEP has assisted over 2,500 Wisconsin manufacturers including many in HVLV environments with improvements that gain them real, sustainable results.

View the HVLV Info Sheet

Lean Training Services

WMEP provides a range of Lean Training Services, including "Principles of Lean Manufacturing Workshop", "Principles of Lean Manufacturing Overview", and "Lean Culture" as well as workshops focused on any of the Lean practices, including 5S, Pull/Kanban, TPM and so on.  Just contact us, and we can provide on-site training tailored to your needs.

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Rapid Quoting

Rapid quoting strategies and principles reduce quote turnaround time, improve the accuracy and consistency of traditional cost estimating methods and improve the quoting process. A systematic, featured-based approach to cost estimating in conjunction with a lean workflow, improves productivity and outcomes of the quoting process.

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Training Within Industry

TWI is a proven Lean-based program that trains employees to succeed by enabling them to apply Lean Principles into their daily routine. It is particularly effective in leveraging the role of the supervisor or leader in conducting kaizen events (continuous incremental improvement of an activity to eliminate waste) on an on-going basis.

 More about Training Within Industry

Lean Transformation

WMEP’s approach, Lean Transformation, renders immediate results by combining several Lean tools for maximum effect. Lean Transformation also sustains improvement by building a Lean Culture and converting employees to Lean disciples – not just believing in it, but practicing it and spreading the word.

More about Lean Transformation