HED Cycling Products is a globally recognized high-performance bicycle manufacturer and they produce the world’s lightest, most aerodynamic wheels, frames and components. HED produces carbon-fiber cycling components in their St. Paul, Minnesota, manufacturing facility. All products are produced from the single location by a team of 40 employees. They are a woman-owned, independent manufacturer led by Anne Hed, who co-founded the company in 1984. HED products are ridden by championship athletes and weekend explorers around the world.
HED Cycling has been an innovator and pioneer in the performance bicycling world for over 30 years. Over that time, new and innovative products have been added to their ultra-light carbon fiber component offerings and they continually push the envelope for what is possible on a bicycle. However, HED came to realize that they had become disorganized in their production facility and had much room for improvement in their process flows.
HED had previously done work with Enterprise Minnesota, part of the MEP National Network™, through an organizational value stream mapping project, which gave them the 10,000-foot view of their operation. Now they knew they needed to refine specific processes and work areas to take full advantage of their previous investment, with the goal of improving efficiency, reducing waste, increasing throughput and improving their employee training experience.
It was a very positive experience working with Sam because he made it fun. He was engaged, he was funny, but still so experienced in a positive way that he kept staff engaged. He was out on the shop floor sorting, doing the work alongside them, instead of just telling them what to do.
I think it has been really helpful for our business to continue to do work with Enterprise Minnesota. When we have a pain point, I know who to call.
Enterprise Minnesota expert Sam Gould was brought in to review HED’s production processes, focusing on the carbon fiber and assembly areas. Sam took the HED production team through a 5S project and worked closely with the client team on the production floor to document, sort, and discuss the desired workflow for each area.
The process allowed the HED employees to learn how fast and accurately they could do their work and the value chain in the manufacturing process. Through the course of the project, HED was able to remove process waste and material waste to create a much smoother and safer production flow. A key takeaway that has really supported the company through the pandemic was that every tool or piece of equipment has a place, and everything needs to be returned to its place when it’s done being used. This has allowed the HED team to keep production on track if employees are out sick or someone needs to jump in. Everyone can know exactly where a tool is located.