The War on Muda at VIBCO

I found this video while checking out a Lean blog called the Think Shack for the first time. The video features Karl Wadensten, VIBCO President and is a great testimony to the benefits of Lean Manufacturing.[tweetmeme]

Karl describes the event that put VIBCO on the Lean journey.  Karl states that one of his Customer Service Representatives approached him on a Friday.  A customer was on the line and was crying because she was going to get fired if VIBCO made another late delivery.  Karl decided right then and there that things had to change and went out into the plant to see what was wrong.  From there, Karl discusses several benefits that VIBCO and their customers enjoy as a result of their Lean initiative:

  • Reduced inventories by $2 million (US).
  • Absorbed 3 price increases from their healthcare provider without passing any additional costs to their employees.
  • Holding prices steady for their customers.
  • Avoiding layoffs and employees still working 40 hours per week.

VIBCO now has a slogan that simply states “Same Day, Next Day.”  Filling orders on the same day or even the next day is a far cry from when their customer was going to get fired due to another VIBCO late order.  You can see how VIBCO has become another Lean success story yourself by watching the video.


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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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2 Responses to The War on Muda at VIBCO

  1. David Adams says:

    Great thoughts…and I LOVE the bucket on his head! So, I just had a similar discussion with a former CFO for several large companies here in the Pittsburgh area. He is teaching a lean accounting course in our Masters in Operational Excellence program. He has concluded that we must stop preaching lean or Operational Excellence (the larger system around lean) as a tactic. It must be a strategy. In order to effect that change in thinking at the top, we need to speak the CFO, CEO language: did you hear how Karl related operational improvement to increased working capital that helped them hedge against radical increases in healthcare costs? Great stuff!

    • David,

      Karl is certainly a great Lean ambassador. The helmet and cigar give the impression of a John Wayne, no nonsense, get it done attitude. He speaks in terms that all levels of the organization can relate to. I’ve listened to a podcast of his show which was great. Thanks for your insight.


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