In Cupertino, CA today at the Ultriva User's Conference listening to a many customer case study presentations from Emerson Electric, Rexnord, and Dover Inc. What is most compelling in the talks is why each company is using Lean. OK International started on their Lean journey in 2001 to improve customer responsiveness. They've moved delivery times from 6 weeks to 2 weeks using a Lean approach. In fact, OKI never even did manual kanban. They went directly to eKanban to enable that change. OKI discovered Ultriva because one of their top suppliers was also a supplier to Emerson Electric which uses Ultriva. They told OKI that they are a lousy customer and they should seriously consider eKanban from Ultriva. That was one of the main reasons why OKI went directly to eKanban knowing the results Emerson was getting.
Emerson's goal is to have all 31,000 suppliers onto the Ultriva eKanban system by end of September 2008. Emerson is using a shared services IT model to support the roll-out. This helps them integrate with the variety of MRP systems in use around the world. Emerson's roll-out is very ambitious. They are doing supplier kanban, customer kanban, and internal kanban. Schedule-based replenishment is on the horizon.