Arkansas Economic Development Commission


National Park College hosts LEAN 101 training for Airtech Supply Inc.

picture of a National Park College

National Park College (NPC), Airtech Supply (Airtech) Inc. and Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions Group (AMS) recently received a “grow-your-own” grant from the Arkansas Department of Career Education’s Office of Skills Development (OSD) to offer a LEAN Transformation series of trainings for employees. The grant is the first of its kind to be awarded since the OSD was created.

The LEAN 101 class is the first in the LEAN Transformation series of trainings. Airtech plans to complete this training with the assistance of the OSD grant to improve employees’ skills and increase profitability. Additional classes in the series include Leading Change, 5S, Toyota Kata, and Training Within Industry.

AMS is part of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Business Retention and Expansion Division. Dan Mickelson and Mickey Yeager with AEDC led the training which includes 15 tools employees can apply to their work. A plant simulation allows employees to apply LEAN skills to their unique needs and observations.

It provides the employee with a sense of ownership as they are helping to preserve the work environment,” said Mickelson. The class also includes Kata methodologies to help create a routine culture of continuous process improvement. Mickelson says Kata techniques provide a communication tool that helps managers and employees on the plant floor to work in a common direction.

Airtech Supply Inc. is committed to training and developing its workforce. Five employees were hired from NPC’s Introduction to Aerospace Manufacturing & Repair program, and six existing employees are currently completing the program. Additionally, several employees and managers completed supervisory training and computer training this year.

“Airtech has been a significant contributor to the success of our aerospace programs here at NPC,” said Kelli Albrecht, vice president for workforce and strategic initiatives. “The partnership between Airtech Supply and National Park College is integral to the continued success of our aerospace programming. We are grateful that all of our aerospace employers support NPC programs.”

“We are pleased to be able to offer this type of training to our entire workforce. The regiment of courses we have selected are intended to educate our team in the usage of Lean and Continuous Improvement tools and concepts,” said Greg Hess, Director of Operations at Airtech Supply. “We compete locally, domestically and internationally on the Military and Commercial Aerospace product that we produce, the courses offered by Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, the great facilities at National Park College, and the support of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission have all combined to aid in our continuous improvement journey. Companies like our own must stay competitive by reducing costs and waste, in our business you seldom get the option of raising unit prices to cover rising costs, improvements must come from within.”

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