Tsuda USA Corp. (TUC) was established in September 2012 in Greenfield, Indiana to manufacture automotive components in the United States. The company name (Tsuda USA Group) was selected for two reasons: 1) to show the relationship to their parent company, Tsuda Industries Co. and 2) to acknowledge the US-based facility.
TUC is a 100% owned subsidiary of Tsuda Industries Co., LTD. Tsuda Industries Co. is affiliated with Toyota Motor Corporation. Established in 1938, the headquarters of Tsuda Industries is located in Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Products manufactured by Tsuda Industries include, Gear Shift Lever Components, Chassis Components, Accelerator Modules, Brake Components and Air Conditioner Components. Tsuda Industries was the first in the world to develop and manufacture the plastic shift-lever supplying to Toyota Motor Corporation and other automobile manufacturers in Japan. These products also are supplied to engine makers in the United States.
Tsuda USA Corporation was looking to create a systematic training program tailored to support the company’s process improvement initiatives for ongoing continuous improvement, employee engagement, sustainability of processes, production development, lean, and leadership development.
Tsuda’s Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations Manager sought Purdue MEP services due to the center’s tailored, on-site focus on their manufacturing processes. Past training efforts had fallen short of anticipated impacts, employee engagement goals, and had not been sustained.
Purdue MEP developed a tailored training plan to meet the company’s objectives and support operations, which targeted 75% of Tsuda’s production leadership team. Purdue MEP’s program included comprehensive training and implementation of Principles of Lean Manufacturing, 5-S the Visual Workplace, Problem-solving, Setup Reduction / Quick Changeover, Total Productive Maintenance, and Combined Standard Work and Error Proofing Techniques. In addition, Purdue MEP also added leadership topics to help improve supervisory skills as well as employee engagement.
Tsuda’s leadership team was committed to the Purdue MEP program to improve operations and to invest in their employees’ professional development and career growth, showing a commitment to Tsuda’s ongoing support of their workforce.
Tsuda involved 75% of their production leadership team in the Purdue MEP lead continuous improvement training and increased their investment in their workforce practices and employee development. Since the Purdue MEP training, multiple Kaizen events have resulted in substantial savings and a dramatic decrease in employee turnover.
- Over the Purdue MEP training period, Tsuda was able to reduce employee turnover to almost zero.
- Through Tsuda’s quick-change/setup reduction efforts, changeover time was reduced by over 92% (60 min to under 5 min) in a key manufacturing process. This improvement led to a substantial decrease in cycle time and an annual impact of approximately $120,000 in gained part production;
- Tsuda avoided almost $100,000 in unnecessary investments in their processes through successful implementation of Lean tools;
- During one of Tsuda’s first Kaizen events, facilitated by Purdue MEP, the company was able to identify at least $5,000 in unnecessary inventory;
- Tsuda has implemented 5S type Kaizen projects that minimized risk of cross contamination of chemicals used on their production floor, utilizing visual controls in a color-coding system. Historically, Tsuda had mistakenly introduced wrong chemicals to machines at a rate of five per year. The cost of one machine needing pumped out and brought back into service with the cost of lost production time, maintenance labor hours and lost chemical was in the range of $2,000 to $5,000 per incident.
“I felt the classes helped me realize some gaps in my leadership and gave me tools to develop myself. I now feel more confident in myself as a leader since improving my communication skills. I was glad to have been able to take the classes and recommend them to anyone looking to be a more effective leader.”
– David Hudson, Team Leader
“I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the Purdue MEP classes. I enjoyed learning more about Lean culture and 5S, along with the activities we participated in.
“I did enjoy the project management section and the last class where all Team Member’s presented their presentations in the second segment. I really liked being able to work with my counterparts on the different activities/projects throughout the MEP training.
“I have tried to take the skills I have been taught, and apply them to my everyday job. We have made several cost saving changes to the SunGear line, in terms of 5S and Lean Manufacturing. There have been several wastes identified, and removed since attending the classes.
I believe that I am more aware of things that I may not have been in the past, because of these classes. I will continue to use the skills that I have learned to not only better myself, but also those around me.”
- Marcus Boyd, Production Group Leader
“The Purdue MEP program was fantastic! I really enjoyed the group projects. They helped bring us together and drive home the topic of the class.
“Since the class ended, I have worked diligently on many of the course topics. Most importantly, I have improved my tone, approach, and coaching of my team members. Many of them have commented on noticing a good change in my responses. Secondly, the quick changeover course helped me identify and eliminate wasted processes one of my areas had. We have brought a once 60-minute changeover (few times per week) down to 5 minutes maximum. Lastly, the problem-solving course greatly enhanced my PDCA capabilities when faced with not just workplace opportunities but in my everyday life as well.
“I am extremely grateful to have been involved in the MEP program.”
– Christopher VanDuyn, Production Group Lead
“The MEP classes really opened my eyes in regards to the process improvement aspects! I have been able to improve on what I believed to be already successful processes. The strive for continuous improvement has been easier to visualize with the knowledge I took away from the classes.”
– Eric Layton, Production Control Manager