Playing the Lean Long Game

IndustryWeek | March 27, 2020

Many of us might be wringing our hands over the impact of this pandemic on our expansive lean or, whatever you chose to call it transformation.  Perhaps you’re approaching it with the wrong goal in mind. I’ve believed for quite a while now that the real end game, regardless of all the wonderful performance improvements promised by hungry consultants and/or insisted on by well-meaning boards, was the creation of an adaptable organization capable of succeeding in rapidly changing market conditions.  What I didn’t expect was that every industry would see rapidly changing market conditions at the same time! Let’s go back to the basic principle: Plan-Do-Check-Act. The basis of PDCA is acting and thinking in a deliberate method to make changes that are proven to be sound and successful.  The implication is that you never get it right the first time, so you iterate several times maybe as part of a pilot) to understand what really works and what doesn’t.  In this way, the thinking is lifted off the page and introduced to reality through field testing. And whatever we have on paper becomes the baseline for learning what can really work in the field.


Traditional manufacturing methods have relied on surface finishing as a secondary operation. This is particularly true for metals. Processes such as casting, manual milling and lathes, and CNC machining produce a ‘raw’ part that typically needs additional processing to meet specifications.

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Saint-Gobain Bioprocess Solutions Business Announces C-Flex® Production Capability in Suwa, Japan

Saint-Gobain Bioprocess Solutions Business Announces C-Flex | June 16, 2022

Saint-Gobain Life Sciences today announced the addition of their Suwa, Japan manufacturing facility for the production of C-Flex® TPE tubing for use in bioprocessing. The capacity addition in Suwa is part of Saint-Gobain Life Sciences ongoing investment plan to globally expand production capacity for its products and services used throughout the bioprocessing industry. The Suwa site expansion further enhances our global manufacturing network, with a specific emphasis on supporting availability of our C-Flex® TPE tubing in Asia, With the completion of Suwa’s capability, we will have C-Flex® production capacity in five separate facilities in four countries. This is a unique capability in TPE tubing for bioprocessing and it supports our mission to provide security of supply.” Benjamin Le Quéré, Bioprocess Solutions business unit General Manager at Saint-Gobain Life Sciences. The C-Flex® production expansion to the Saint-Gobain facility in Suwa, Japan is part of a multi-year manufacturing strategy, increasing Bioprocess Solutions business unit production capacity around the globe, creating redundant manufacturing capabilities across Europe, North America, and Asia to support increasing customer demand. The Saint-Gobain Suwa facility has been in operation since 1992 and employs approximately 100 employees, providing production capability to multiple businesses within the Saint-Gobain Group. About Saint-Gobain Life Sciences Dedicated to improving the quality of life, Saint-Gobain Life Sciences develops and manufactures high-performance components and integrated solutions that touch a broad range of patient care, from the development of new therapeutic cancer treatments to biopharmaceutical production, on through to intravenous therapies for drug delivery. Combining our technical expertise, global manufacturing capabilities and research and development resources, Saint-Gobain Life Sciences is dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of bioprocess, medical, and pharmaceutical customers around the world. Saint-Gobain Life Sciences is part of Saint-Gobain Group, a worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction, which designs, manufactures, and distributes materials and services for the construction and industrial markets.

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CARI Electronic Launches Industry 4.0 Journey with FactoryLogix

CARI Electronic | January 06, 2022

Aegis Software, a global provider of IIoT-based Manufacturing Execution Software (MES), announces that CARI Electronic, EMS partner in Valence near to Lyon, France, has chosen FactoryLogix® as a key part of their MES Industry 4.0 journey.For 35 years, CARI Electronic has been providing electronic services, from the design of electronic systems to the production of electronic cards and integration of complex systems, with the constant goal to provide their customers with accelerated turn-around times and a high standard of quality. As a member of the innovative French Tech organization and EN9100 certified, CARI Electronic satisfies exacting customer needs across several industries, including aerospace, medical, energy, industrial IoT applications, and audio, applying stringent IPC manufacturing standards. “CARI has been looking to start our Industry 4.0 journey, continuing our Lean efforts, with key objectives to improve the speed of product development, manufacturing and delivery, further increase quality levels, while providing exact traceability, We chose FactoryLogix because of Aegis’ state of the art singular MES solution, which doesn’t require any third-party dependencies or hardware to connect to machines, and their established track-record of digital manufacturing innovation for electronic cards.” -Sylvain ROLLET, CEO of CARI Electronic. Dan Walls, Managing Director EMEA at Aegis Software, comments, “We are excited and proud to participate in CARI Electronics’ journey, as they further progress their value through innovation with FactoryLogix and Industry 4.0, an impressive role-model for the industry.” FactoryLogix is a holistic and modular platform that delivers leading-edge technology with easily configurable modules to support and execute a manufacturer’s strategy towards Industry 4.0. FactoryLogix manages the entire manufacturing lifecycle: from product launch to material logistics, through manufacturing execution and quality management to powerful analytics and real-time dashboards. This end-to-end platform helps companies accelerate product introductions, streamline processes, improve quality and traceability, reduce costs, and gain greater visibility for competitive advantage and profitability. About CARI Electronic CARI Electronic was founded in 1986 to address the new local customer need for electronic cables, while building proximity relationships. Since then, the company has expanded and provides electronic services such as research and design of electronic systems, manufacturing and integration of complete systems. The company kept intact the wish to adjust to their evolving customer needs (Innovation, Delays, Quality…) by nurturing sustainable relationships with their customers, no matter where those are situated. To learn more, visit their Website: About Aegis Software Founded in 1997, Aegis Software uniquely delivers a comprehensive and flexible end-to-end manufacturing execution system (MES) platform giving manufacturers the speed, control, and visibility they require. Aegis has international sales and support offices in Germany, UK, and China, and partners with more than 37 manufacturing equipment suppliers. Since its inception, Aegis has been helping more than 2,200 factories across the military, aerospace, electronics, medical, and automotive industries, drive rapid and continuous innovation with the highest quality while reducing operational costs. Learn more by visiting Speed, Control and Visibility for Manufacturing.Note: FactoryLogix is a registered trademark of Aegis Industrial Software. All other company and product names contained herein are trademarks of the respective holders.

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Firmament Acquires NASCENT Technology, the Market Leader in Automated Gate Systems for the Supply Chain Industry

NASCENT Technology | February 03, 2022

Firmament, a provider of structured equity capital solutions to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), announced its investment in NASCENT Technology, a leading manufacturer of Automated Gate Systems (AGS), software and systems integration for the supply chain, including rail, marine terminals, manufacturing and distribution centers, as well as the private and for-hire carrier market. The acquisition of NASCENT is a continuation of Firmament's longstanding commitment to investing in the supply chain. NASCENT is the worldwide leader and pioneer of fully integrated, scalable hardware and software for automated gates, portals, and kiosks as well as safety and security monitoring equipment. NASCENT celebrated its 26th anniversary in January and has played an instrumental role in accelerating and transforming gate and portal processes in the intermodal industry. Ted Wong, Principal at Firmament, remarked, "Our investment will allow NASCENT to invest in its suite of best-in-class technology solutions and to service its growing customer footprint during a time of unprecedented demand for improved visibility and control within the supply chain. We value the opportunity to be part of the solution for the current supply chain challenges." NASCENT will also benefit from strategic partnership with Firmament's portfolio company, Envase Technologies, the largest and most innovative cloud-based Transportation Management System (TMS) provider for intermodal and drayage operators in North America. Since 2020, Envase's portfolio of brands has grown to include Profit Tools, Compcare Services, Tailwind Transportation Software, SecurSpace, and Infosite Technologies. The integration of data and the resulting real-time visibility from intermodal and drayage operators on-the-go through to terminals and facilities in the NASCENT footprint offer customers and partners an unmatched value proposition. "The NASCENT team is excited by Firmament's investment and what the future holds. Firmament's knowledge and expertise within the supply chain industry will enable us to support our growing customer base and their evolving technology needs. Furthermore, our customers in the intermodal and drayage industry will greatly benefit from the strategic partnership with Envase, We are eager to leverage our technologies and teams in ways that will help our customers move freight more efficiently and securely through ports, rails, yards, warehouses, and end destinations with complete visibility." -Ray West, President and CEO of NASCENT. Larry Cuddy, Jr., CEO of Envase Technologies, commented, NASCENT's market-leading technology and expertise aligns perfectly with Envase's goal to revolutionize and digitize the end-to-end lifecycle of containers. With this strategic partnership, NASCENT and Envase have a significant opportunity for technological innovation within the intermodal industry and international growth and expansion. About NASCENT Technology NASCENT Technology ( is the worldwide leader and pioneer in the development, manufacture, installation, and service of fully integrated, scalable hardware and software for gates, kiosks, safety, and security monitoring equipment. As one of the pioneers of Automated Gate Systems (AGS) to the industry, NASCENT has consistently led the way in new technology-based solutions, providing several innovations and industry firsts. Backed by unrivaled engineering, assembly, software development, QA, and support organizations, NASCENT continues to draw on its vast industry experience and keen focus on supply chain operations to provide unparalleled solutions. About Envase Envase ( provides mission-critical, cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) enterprise software and mobile applications to the supply chain, with a core focus on the drayage trucking niche. The software merges order entry, dispatch, container tracking, electronic data interchange (EDI), API connectivity, document imaging, invoicing, settlements, and business intelligence, among other functions, into a single, streamlined system providing carrier efficiencies and container visibility over the supply chain. About Firmament Firmament ( provides structured equity capital solutions to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Firmament is a value-added partner to entrepreneurs, management teams and business owners and curates solutions by deploying versatile capital in a user-friendly way. Firmament concentrates on software and services businesses with significant scaling potential in the healthcare, logistics, wellness and environmental sectors. With offices across the United States and in the United Kingdom, Firmament is focused on turning small business into big business.

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Hibiki-Seiki and Optima Manufacturing enter Strategic Partnership to Supply North American Aerospace Industry

Hibiki | March 23, 2022

Japan-based Hibiki-Seiki and Alberta-based Optima Manufacturing (Optima), with support from the Invest Alberta Corporation (IAC) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), announced today that they have entered into a strategic partnership to jointly manufacture and supply high-precision machining and components for the North American Aerospace Industry. This partnership is expected to generate $5 million in new business for the partners and create 10 new high-skilled jobs in Alberta over the next year with up to 50 new jobs between the two companies within the next five years. “Thanks to the support of JETRO and IAC, we identified Optima Manufacturing as the ideal strategic partner for us to establish our initial entry into the North American market and leverage both complementary manufacturing capacities to rapidly expand our collective business and capture new opportunities across the global value chain,” said Isao Matsuyama, Vice President, Hibiki-Seiki. "This partnership will allow us to fill a major gap in the global supply chain of semi-conductors and meet the growing demand for specialized parts in North America’s rapidly expanding aerospace and satellite industry.” Based in Yamaguchi, Japan since 1967 with a team of 107 employees, JISQ9100 certified Hibiki-Seiki specializes in reducing the weight of complex parts and components for the global semiconductor manufacturing equipment and satellite industry through its unique combination of turning technology and machining centers for thin precision metal cutting. The partnership between Optima and Hibiki-Seiki will benefit a variety of industries on a global scale by alleviating current supply chain issues of precision components while unlocking new opportunities for expansion. Following the successful rollout of this initial partnership, Hibiki-Seiki is considering expanding its investment in Alberta by establishing a physical presence with additional equipment and human resources working alongside the Optima team at its Calgary-based headquarters. "We are elated about this partnership with Hibiki-Seiki, and to expand our global reach, Optima has been growing its global customer-base with clients throughout Japan, Europe, and other international markets. This partnership means we can take on new business opportunities at an accelerated pace by leveraging our combined manufacturing capacity and expertise. What’s more, is that it places us in an optimal position to generate new jobs back home in Alberta. We truly appreciate the support of Invest Alberta and JETRO in making this connection to Alberta’s supply chain and manufacturing advantage.” Duane Hertzer, President, Optima Manufacturing Optima is one of Western Canada’s most diversified precision machining facilities. A Calgary-based corporation, it has been ISO-9001 certified since 2005 and specializes in the machining, assembly and kitting of small-to-medium-sized precision components for a globally diverse market of international Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). Optima’s team is currently comprised of 52 associates and its global industry market portfolio includes energy, transportation, aerospace and process control. This is spread between markets in North America, Asia, Europe, and South America. "We are pleased to collaborate with Invest Alberta and Optima Manufacturing to Hibiki-Seiki’s entry into the North American market,” said Kimiya Nakao, Business Development Partner, JETRO. "We intend to continuously support Hibiki-Seiki and other Japanese companies by helping introduce high-end Japanese technologies and promoting investment into new international markets.” “This partnership between Hibiki-Seiki and Optima is a perfect example of how Alberta’s economy is being further diversified,” said Honourable Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation. "Their collaboration in the aerospace and manufacturing sectors presents new opportunities for Albertans. Our province is a destination of choice for business and I look forward to seeing more from Hibiki-Seiki and Optima in the future.” “Alberta is strategically positioned to be a leading destination for manufacturing and aerospace companies. We’re excited to work with top-tier partners from Japan to support new technologies that are in demand from global industries, creating new investment, opportunities, and jobs in Alberta,” said Rick Christiaanse, CEO, Invest Alberta Corporation. About Hibiki-Seiki Founded in 1967 with its headquarters in Yamaguchi, Japan, Hibiki-Seiki is a second-generation family-owned machining and manufacturing company specializing in the production of semi-conductors and satellites for the global aerospace industry. For more information, visit About Optima Manufacturing Established in 1990, Optima Manufacturing is a Calgary, Alberta-based family-owned business dedicated to providing the highest quality state-of-the-art close-tolerance machining and precision assembly services. Our parts are used in a variety of industries, including Aerospace, Oil and Gas, Environmental Control, Agriculture and Telecommunications. About Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) JETRO, or the Japan External Trade Organization, is a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Originally established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports abroad, JETRO's core focus in the 21st century has shifted toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential. About the Invest Alberta Corporation The Invest Alberta Corporation is dedicated to investment attraction, with a mandate to engage the world and provide high-end tailored support to companies, investors, and major new projects. Alberta, Canada has the lowest corporate payroll and sales taxes; the youngest and highly educated workforce in Canada, and the most livable and affordable cities. Invest Alberta works to break down barriers so investors and businesses can start up, scale up, and succeed without limits.

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Traditional manufacturing methods have relied on surface finishing as a secondary operation. This is particularly true for metals. Processes such as casting, manual milling and lathes, and CNC machining produce a ‘raw’ part that typically needs additional processing to meet specifications.