Solectron Drives Lean Six Sigma Manufacturing to its Suppliers

Electronics manufacturer honors sites for quality achievements; first-annual Supplier Day focuses on "Embracing Lean" theme

Electronics manufacturer honors sites for quality achievements; first-annual Supplier Day focuses on "Embracing Lean" theme

Milpitas, CA — September 30, 2005 — Solectron, a provider of electronics manufacturing and integrated supply chain services, is moving forward with its lean manufacturing initiative with two consecutive events — the first-annual Global Solectron Production System (SPS) Kaizen Competition and its Supplier Day conference to help drive lean into the supply chain.

Solectron said the Supplier Day conference gathered several hundred suppliers for a full day of keynotes and educational sessions to help encourage suppliers to embrace lean manufacturing.

Solectron announced the Penang, Malaysia, facility as the winner of Solectron's first annual Global SPS Kaizen Competition. SPS is the company's Lean Six Sigma methodology for continuous manufacturing improvement in quality and efficiency. Solectron employees have completed more than 5,000 Kaizens, a Japanese term that means continuous improvement, this year throughout its global operations.

"At Solectron, Lean Six Sigma is a way of life on our shop floor, which allows us to bring tangible business benefits and cost savings to our customers worldwide. After two years of the lean journey, we are expanding our vision to include our suppliers for creating a truly differentiated supply chain," said Marc Onetto, Solectron's executive vice president, worldwide operations. Onetto explained that the Global SPS Kaizen Competition was designed to recognize the work Solectron employees are doing worldwide for the company's customers. "We are thrilled to recognize the Penang, Malaysia, team as our first winner, and applaud all of our finalists for their commitment to customer satisfaction," he said.

Entries for the contest were submitted from over 50 Solectron sites around the world. From those entries, 11 finalists from Europe, Asia and the Americas gathered in San Jose, Calif., to recognize the winner. Judges included Jim Womack, founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute and co-author of Lean Thinking, and Chichiro Nakao-San, who spent over 30 years at Toyota Corp., refining its ground-breaking manufacturing methodology.

"Lean has fundamentally changed the manufacturing landscape, led by Toyota," said Womack. "The future of the EMS industry is found in Kaizen. But to reap the full value and benefits of lean, Kaizen must permeate up and down the supply chain — from [original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)] to suppliers."

Solectron's 2005 Supplier Day formally launched Solectron's lean supplier program, which forms the foundation of Solectron's vision to deliver competitive supply chain solutions to its customers. The one-day event included breakout sessions on Lean 101, an introduction to the Solectron Production System; Solectron's Lean supply chain program; an overview of increasing customer value through design and engineering for Lean production; and Lean deployment from a supplier perspective.

Most recently, Solectron's manufacturing plant in Columbia, S.C., was recognized as one of the 10 Best Plants in North America by IndustryWeek magazine for lean implementation and value to customers.