Concrete Products

FEB 2017

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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www.concreteproducts.com February 2017 • 51 They are called the Águilas Verdes (Green Eagles), a small team of Smith-Midland associates who oversee production of one of the company's core offerings, the J-J Hooks highway safety barrier. Precast concrete safety barriers have been produced in the Mid- land, Va., plant since the late 1970s. In that time millions of linear feet of barrier have been shipped. Various attempts had been made over the years to standardize the production process, with varying degrees of success. In the late spring of 2016, the Águilas Verdes team was formed to create a "model cell" and make the final push to bring the barrier casting standards to a world-class level. Model cell is an improvement technique of the Lean Manufac- turing philosophy, where the focus is to establish an "island of perfection," within the plant. It defines a manufacturing pro- cess between a specific starting and stopping point, then guides team members to track, quantify, and work together to improve each step. As each issue is identified, closer examination of causes and solutions are discussed, decisions made, actions tak- en, and then reexamined. The J-J Hooks model cell was defined from the point the concrete mix was delivered from the on-site batch plant until the barrier had been inspected for the second time and sent to the storage yard. Continued on pages 52, 54 FEATURE SMITH-MIDLAND MODEL CELL Smith-Midland proves Lean Manufacturing concept in J-J Hooks barrier production As team leaders, Raul Franco (right) and Cesar Montiel convene the "daily huddle" to review and audit barrier production shift metrics. Huddle and visual management techniques have lowered manhours per barrier and reduced defects in finished products.

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