Success Stories

Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing Increases Quality and Reduces Cycle Times through Lean Culture and Value Stream Mapping

Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing

Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing (KMM) is a family-owned high-tech contract manufacturer. This 300-plus employee company is committed to excellence in all realms of business operations with a commitment to community, country, and family. A cornerstone principle of KMM is responsiveness to customer. This responsiveness has opened many doors for KMM on world-class platforms in support of our military and commercial aerospace.

Their mission is “Serving communities through building economies; bettering our world by building a quality product.”

Inefficiencies, High Cycle Times

KMM has always recognized the need to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, improve quality, and increase safety. As a result factories in Killdeer, Dickinson, and Hettinger, N. D. have a long history of informal lean initiatives. But KMM’s current growth rate and world-class customer base consisting of The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Corporation, ELDEC Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation, required company leaders to develop a formal company-wide lean initiative program to maximize lean implementation benefits and further enhance KMM’s ability to remain competitive. 

Lean Culture, Value Stream Mapping

To address the challenge of becoming more intentional about implementing lean initiatives throughout the company Don Hedger KMM President, Dan Hedger KMM Vice President, and Kristin Hedger Vice President of Business Development developed a goal to create a company-wide lean office. Beginning in June of 2007, Don Hedger sent five members of his management team to lean training facilitated by Impact Dakota. This initial training lead to Impact Dakota Kaizens held in each of the three KMM factories.

In May of 2008, under the direct guidance of Kristin Hedger and direct support from The Boeing Company, KMM began to form a company-wide Lean office. The first step in that process was a Boeing sponsored Value Stream Mapping workshop on site at the KMM Dickinson Factory. The result of that Boeing facilitated workshop was the development of an experimental production line for lean initiatives to be successfully implemented and then integrated throughout the entire factory. The next step required two KMM employees to spend June 16-20, 2008 in Everett Washington to participate in Boeing’s Accelerated Improvement Workshop Training (AIW). Boeing’s AIW training is considered the industry standard for Hoshin Kanri (Lean strategic planning and implementation processes). With this training completed the KMM Lean Office was officially created. 

Reduced Cycle TImes and Inventory, Improved Quality

Working closely with supportive management staff and motivated factory co- workers in Dickinson, Hettinger, and Killdeer, the KMM Lean Office has facilitated 10 successful AIW’s,There are a total of 9 scheduled AIW’s throughout KMM for the 2012 business year. KMM has experienced increases in efficiency, productivity, quality, and safety. The company has also reduced costs, decreased overall process cycle times and individual production process cycle times. Inventory has dropped and the need for new tools has been reduced. The amount of factory floor space usage has diminished and fewer production floor operators are needed to complete the same work responsibilities. Each of these results increases the company’s capacity for new business.


Hettinger Factory:

Reduced overall cycle time from 99 days to 53, reduced need for eight process operators and reduced factory floor usage from 3,000 sq. ft. to 1,000 sq. ft. which created capacity for new business, saved $12,000 for new tools that were no longer needed. Reduced salary costs for one production line by 38%, reduced WIP for one production line by over 35%

Dickinson Factory:

Increased daily quality from 91% to 93.64%, reduced product escapes 80%, reduced the need for five process operators, reduced factory floor usage by 11,250 sq. feet, increased capacity for new work, eliminated over 50 hours of daily process wastes increasing operator productivity by 17%, reduced the cost of building a cable from over $88 to $72 which will save over $131,000 for 2009, implemented 15 safety improvements, reduced inventory over $8,000, reduced WIP from 15 wire bundles per production process to two wire bundles per process, saved over $5,000 for new tools that were no longer needed and saved over $9,000 in scrap wire.

Beginning with Impact Dakota training in June of 2007 and continuing today, the KMM Lean Office intentionally develops, implements, and sponsors company-wide AIW’s. One of the primary goals of the lean office is to transfer ownership of the AIW process to each factory but with direct guidance, organization, oversight, and support from the KMM Lean Office. The new procedure of implementing lean initiatives occurs in a consistent, structured, and documented procedure throughout the company to insure a daily continuous improvement culture that will support KMM’s goal to provide jobs, growth, and economic prosperity for Western North Dakota well into the future.”

—Scott Berry, Lean Facilitator

Latest Success Stories

More Sucess Stories

Impact Dakota Blog