Success Stories

Production Increases 15% and Employee Turnover Decreases for Cloverdale Meats When Quick & Easy Kaizen, Lean Tools and Value Stream Mapping are Implemented

Cloverdale Meats

Motion after motion matters. Just ask the people who work eight-hour shifts on the production lines at Cloverdale Meats in Mandan, N.D.

Cloverdale Meats employs 300 people and is recognized across the Midwest for signature meats of impeccable taste. Even though the company's origins go back to 1915, they continue to search for ways to be more competitive, productive and profitable. 

Every product line--and Cloverdale Meats produces 400 products in 16 categories--is staffed by dedicated employees searching for ways to be more efficient, thanks to Lean Manufacturing and the Impact Dakota. Teardrop hams, tangy summer sausage, and thick-sliced bacon are created by people on the production lines going through motion after motion to complete a quality end product. 

 Inefficiencies and Employee Turnover

Cloverdale Meats processes an average of 85,000 pounds of hams per week. This affects approximately 16 employees on production line positions. The company wanted to break down and analyze the positions on the production line because there was a need for greater efficiency and a better working climate for employees. The manual labor, with repetitive motions, often resulted in productivity problems, injured workers, and employee turnover. 

Quick & Easy Kaizen, Value Stream Mapping and Lean Tools

A handful of people from Cloverdale Meats attended a public workshop on Lean Manufacturing 101 and liked what they learned. T.J. Russell, CEO/president of Cloverdale Meats, realized there would be benefits from being a Lean Enterprise and requested an in plant Lean Manufacturing 101 session for over 20 Cloverdale employees. While Jeff Cochran and Nicholas Lloyd, two Impact Dakota Lean consultants, led the daylong training session at the Seven Seas in Mandan, two other Impact Dakota Lean consultants visited the Cloverdale plant next door. Industrial Engineer Hank Czarnecki and Lean Manufacturing Senior Consultant C.L. Melenyzer IV, observed the ham bone line and quickly discovered it was out of balance. 

By utilizing Value Stream Mapping and Quick & Easy Kaizen, the Lean Manufacturing team would begin to initiate improvements to the ham bone line. Some workers on the line were making more cuts, which took more time, and the production line was thrown off balance. The ham bone line team was encouraged to look at its current state of production, envision a future state and then pull out all of the non-value added activities. Through the process of Value Stream Mapping the line was balanced and productivity increased. 

Also, Cloverdale employees were asked to be involved in brainstorming ideas to improve efficiencies, eliminate waste and make their jobs easier. One employee recommended a process improvement by enhancing the knife sharpening process. New sharpening steels were ordered that are more user friendly. Employees have been trained in how to effectively sharpen them. Another idea was cross training, or teaching employees a variety of skills. The training and standardizing of motions to complete each task has helped spread out the work evenly.

Production Increases by 15% and Employee Turnover Decreases

  • Increased production on the ham bone line by 15 percent.
  • Made the jobs on the line more uniform. One person isn't working harder than another.
  • Work is equalized and the line is balanced.
  • Decreased employee turnover. Very stable line.
  • Improved team work because the ideas and input from employees is valued. 

"Lean 101 and Value Stream Mapping are about improving job skills that improve the product lines. We put people first. Cloverdale is so blessed to have an incredible amount of talented people. This is an enabling process. If there are things we can do to improve our efficiency, it's a direct result of our employees and the employees will benefit. We have an incredible desire for our people to win and taste winning often."

-- T.J. Russell, CEO/President of Cloverdale Meats

“The implementation of Lean 101 principles has improved the teamwork on our production lines. Our associates know how to utilize a systematic approach to identify and eliminate waste. This, along with standardization of procedures, has reduced cost and improved quality. Lean 101 is a continuous improvement process that Cloverdale is committed to. We will continue to improve our processes.”

-- Jim Miller, Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President

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