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AME: Best Practices

 Best Practices Plants: Hyde Manufacturing

During the AME National Convention in Boston in 2005, several area companies were highlighted for their Best Practices with regards to Lean Principles.  Over the next several months, the MAC Action Newsline will provide you with a peek inside these plants and an overview of their Lean practices and processes. 

Hyde Manufacturing

By Karen Myhaver, MassMEP

For more than 130 years, Hyde Tools has been crafting small hand tools used in surface preparation, masonry, dry wall, flooring wall covering, in the automotive industry, as well as blade tools used in food processing, rubber and tire converting, and the abrasives industries. In fact, Hyde’s manufacturing facility creates more than 800 different, high-quality products for cutting, painting, decorating, maintenance, and surface preparation. The Hyde name is recognized by professionals, craftspeople, and do-it-yourselfers around the world.

The Southbridge location is both corporate headquarters and the manufacturing facility for the company. Two hundred seventy five people are employed in the 220,000 sq ft plant. Here, their manufacturing processes include making blanks, heat treating, grinding, polishing, assembly, and shipping.

In the past, Hyde had done some work with Lean and had seen some positive effects but recently decided that they needed some revitalization, not only to help get them back on target but to advance them to the next level. Pilot programs were done in specific areas, like Hand Knife, and participants were trained by Rich Emmons and the MassMEP to use the lean tools which they then began to implement in the other areas of the company as well.

Again, behind any organization that has had success with Lean lies dedicated leadership and commitment of the employees. Hyde has a workforce that is dedicated to excellence and continually strives to improve. This is why they have been successful. 5s, shine, sort, set in order, standardize, and sustain (also safety for a 6th s) has been done throughout the plant to make the workplace run more smoothly, safely, and with less waste. They also created visual signals to use on the shop floor so everyone could see what was going on or what needed attention. Work Cells were configured to eliminate unnecessary travel of product and people, and they made improvements to their changeover processes to make it more efficient. A pull system was initiated so that they produced to the customers’ demands. Hyde also brought Lean into their warehouse to streamline those processes and eliminate waste. All these factors added to their greatly improved workflow and efficiency.

MassMEP assisted Hyde with Lean training which was partially funded by a Workforce Training Grant which they had obtained. At the end of the training phases, monthly training support meetings were scheduled so that Rich could make sure the work was on track and could assist with any issues that might have arisen.

Not only did Hyde Manufacturing revitalize their Lean initiatives, but they have done so in a manner that has allowed them to take it to the next level and become an example for other manufacturers. 

Founder Isaac Hyde’s standard still applies today: to make the best possible product from the most appropriate steel and try every day to improve on yesterday’s best. Day after day, in every product, Hyde gives America the edge it needs. And Lean has helped them continue to do that. Their slogan: “For a better finish, start with Hyde.”


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