An expert on streamlining the production process came to talk to local industries about remembering the principles of being lean during the latest Manufacturer’s Roundtable.

The gathering organized regularly by the Development Authority of Polk County brought in Georgia Tech’s David Apple to talk about how Toyota’s model of production — also known as lean manufacturing — helps companies find ways to reduce the amount of waste they generate in production. That’s including areas like overproduction, materials or employee time, and then find ways to improve or even capitalize off changes made on the assembly line and other areas.

Apple asked attendees to always remember to be searching for “TIM WOODY” when they are seeking to implement the techniques of lean manufacturing in their own business. The acronym seeks to ensure that management in the production process in any industry always seeks to banish waste and create wealth in their organization by looking at waste in Transportation, Inventory, Movement, Waiting, Over-processing and Over-production, Defects and rework and listening to Your talent.

He also stressed a greater need for sales within an organization to effectively communicate with those on the factory floor, ensuring that both sides are working together to sell product but reduce the rush felt when big orders come in that a business is not prepared immediately to fill, but also in having too much inventory on hand.

Apple, with decades of experience as an Industrial Engineer in both the business world and back at his alma mater at Georgia Tech, also talked about how Toyota’s Production System Principles have lasted the test of time.

He pointed out that they did so by focusing on customers, reducing their lead time in production, respecting their workforce and listening to ideas that will improve the business, having a strong, stable process in place and by always keeping up a cycle of improvement from idea to action.

Lunch was provided to attendees and a tour of Gildan’s facilities wrapped up the roundtable.

More roundtable gatherings are planned for the future, and those who would like to participate can contact April Lucas at the DAPC at 770-684-5686, or by email at

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