Applying Lean Leads to Success
Art Santana, the machine shop operations manager for Hoyt USA, says the combination of advanced equipment, lean principles, continuous improvement, quality-oriented personnel and the drive to deliver customer satisfaction enables the company to produce the best bows in the world.
Hoyt USA became a major player in archery circles in the early 1990s. That’s when CNC machine tools became more affordable, and when the company began producing bow risers (the main center section of a bow) from aluminum instead of the more commonly used magnesium.
More recently, lean manufacturing has enabled the company to become more efficient at producing its advanced bows. Mr. Santana says the company started looking into lean in earnest four years ago. It took some of the concepts from the Toyota lean strategy to create what it calls the “Hoyt System.” One area this approach concentrates on is minimizing setup times. Using quick-change fixturing and locating devices and related equipment, the company has reduced setup times from nearly 2 hours to 10 minutes.
Hoyt also concentrates on streamlining product flow through its shop. One-piece flow was deemed overly complicated for its production needs, but the company has effectively implemented a kanban system to flow product more efficiently. In addition, Hoyt has benefited from adopting standard work principles, in which products are produced at a specified pace. The main components of standard work are balancing production with a specific takt time, specifying standard work in process levels and defining the sequence of operations for each employee.
That last item can be challenging, because employees who believe they know a better way to produce parts sometimes want to stray from the established process. However, Mr. Santana points out that it’s important that employees apply the procedures that have been put in place. That said, the company is always open to suggestions that may improve its processes. This includes ideas that may lead to just small improvements, because those add up over time. As it began its lean journey a few years ago, company management wasn’t sure how valuable shopfloor employees would prove to be in terms of offering suggestions for improvements. Over the last 1.5 years, though, many good suggestions have come from shopfloor employees who know that management is genuinely open to hearing and considering their ideas. On average, employees now offer 15 to 18 continuous improvement ideas per month.
Archery is more than a job at Hoyt: It’s a way of life that drives the company to build the best bows it can. Hoyt is home to a family of like-minded bow fanatics driven to produce what it feels is the highest quality, best-shooting and most trust-worthy bows on the market.
Earl Hoyt Jr. and his father started the company in a small garage in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1931. In 2011, as it celebrated its 80th anniversary, Hoyt built a new, state-of-the-art 150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, Utah and further expanded its engineering and R&D capabilities. The facility is a massive upgrade and continues the Hoyt tradition of keeping its precision manufacturing under its own roof, proudly building its bows in the United States. The facility houses Hoyt’s CNC machine shop, precision composite limb lamination and fabrication cells, carbon production lines, custom paint and finishing booths, and all final assembly and fulfillment functions. The company feels this new facility will enable it to push the envelope like never before and continue to offer innovative, industry-leading products and technologies.
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WORKPIECE MATERIALS COMMONLY MACHINED
Aluminum 6061 T6
593 Wright Brothers Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116