Ulven and Samson Collaborate on Lean Manufacturing

The Ulven Companies (TUC) recently celebrated a successful first year of implementing Lean Manufacturing practices. Lean Manufacturing is a business philosophy that focuses on maximizing customer value by minimizing waste—specifically by eliminating nine main types of waste: transport, inventory, motion, waiting, overproduction, over-processing, defects, environmental/energy, and underutilized people. Ulven Forging has been consulting with Tom Wright-Hay of OMEP (Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership) to implement Lean practices company-wide.

Impressed by TUC’s progress during a routine vendor visit, Samson, a synthetic rope manufacturer, invited TUC to visit its company to share and compare experiences along the journey toward Lean Manufacturing excellence.

The Ulven delegation sent four equipment operators and four managers on a two-day trip to Samson headquarters in Ferndale, Washington. Tom Arnold, Lean Champion at Ulven, noted, “It has become clear that when a company embraces and embarks on a Lean Manufacturing transformation, it joins a fraternity of companies that are on the same path. One of the core beliefs in Lean is that information hoarding is of no benefit to anyone.” This was clear over the course of the meeting between these two companies. The purpose of the meeting was to share tools and ideas that may be useful in supporting each other in the shared mission of domestic manufacturing success.

Samson, originally founded in 1878 by J.P. Tolman, in Massachusetts, has a history of producing ropes that excel in strength and durability. By the time the company relocated to Washington State, the company was a conglomerate of several well-known cordage companies. Today, Samson engineers continue to lead the exploration of new fiber and rope construction technologies to meet the demands of industries as diverse as commercial and recreational marine, arborists, logging utility, and more.

The Ulven Companies have been in the forging industry for over 40 years, starting with the creation of Ulven Forging, Inc., in 1971. The Ulven Companies now comprise a group of four different American companies and are privately held. Each company has its unique set of process capabilities in different areas of the industry and is known for bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to its customers with reliability and integrity.

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