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Manufacturing Success Story

  Springfield Wire Implements Lean Pull System

Springfield Wire, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, is a leading supplier of heating wire and elements to the appliance industry. The company has about 400 employees and has been in business for 80 years.

One of the baseline products manufactured in the plant is heating wire. This wire is bulk shipped to customers, used internally in other products, and shipped to the company’s biggest client – it’s own Mexican facility – for use in products manufactured in Mexico. Weekly shipments are sent via truck to Mexico, but only one week of visibility is possible due to the quick turnaround times required in the industry. With a production lead time of 17.8 days, the company frequently shipped late items via costly air freight to the Mexican plant to avoid penalties on late delivery items.

Springfield Wire needed to improve its production lead time, increase visibility, and reduce shipping expenses. The company contacted the Mass MEP for assistance.

MassMEP assessed Springfield Wire’s current situation and decided to implement a system of lean principles. First, MassMEP conducted basic lean training for key employees in the Springfield facility. It conducted value stream mapping of the heater wire manufacturing line, which revealed a need for a lean pull system.

MassMEP implemented the system, including the use of extensive visual signals and a hiejunka box, throughout the heater wire manufacturing area. Key employees from the Mexican facility came to Springfield to participate in the development process of a plan for improving communication between facilities.


  • Cut production lead time to 6.5 days, a 166% improvement
  • Saved approximately $40,000 per year in air freight shipments to Mexico
  • Generated additional savings by eliminating the need for air freight shipments from Mexico to customers
  • Identified potential electricity savings of approximately $50,000 per year
  • Reduced work-in-process by over 50%

For more information on MassMEP’s lean services, call (508) 831-7020.


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