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SUCCESS STORY

 

FREEDMAN SEATING COMPANY – THRIVING IN ILLINOIS

 

Company Profile:
Freedman Seating is an Illinois company located in Chicago and is one of the nation's largest specialty seating manufacturers. For over 120 years, Freedman Seating’s mission has been to produce excellent transportation seating products. Their product lines include bus, rail, marine, delivery truck, paratransit, specialty and commercial vehicle seating. The company is committed to exceed their customer's expectations in an atmosphere promoting continuous improvement and innovation for their products and personal growth for their employees!

Consistent growth and expansion have earned Freedman Seating recognition as the leading manufacturer of transportation seating solutions!  Manufacturing seats for buses, Freedman Seating supplies the major OEMs, over 250 bus distributors, the federal government, and many states and municipalities. The product family of Freedman Seating bus seats includes products for small and mid-size coaches, paratransit vans and buses, public transit buses, and private bus operators.

Freedman Seating Company currently has nearly 750 employees including manufacturing, sales, engineering and administrative personnel. This includes 250 jobs created since 2011; 225 of them in production.

Problem:
For one particular product line, profitability was not at an appropriate level. Several processes followed a departmental set-up which created in-process inventory due to bottlenecks in several locations, with batch processing, and substantial material handling activities to move and segregate material.

Solution:
After receiving assistance in Lean training from their ‘Illinois BIS’ Lean Consultant, Chuck Liedtke, Freedman Seating launched six Lean projects over a 4-month time frame to dramatically improve flow and reduce excess costs, with net cost savings exceeding 6 digit figures over a three-year period.

Outcomes:
Improvements made during this time included:
  • Several processes were upgraded, or eliminated if they were not adding value
  • Wasted motion in several areas was eliminated
  • Scrap and rework was reduced
  • Batch sizes were reduced improving cash flow
  • Material storage layout was modified
  • Several upgrades were done on the assembly area from 5S to hardware standardization
  • A new integrated cell operation was established with laser cut, de-burr, bending and welding operations with lead time being reduced from days to minutes in the cell.

Contact us at: (630) 505-0500 or info@illinoisbis.org.