Impressive KCST Kicks Off 2012 Manufacturing Network

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It isn’t every day that you can see how a component in your car is made. I had that opportunity yesterday at the kick-off for the 2012 Manufacturing Makes It Real Network at Keihin Carolina System Technology (KCST) in Tarboro, NC. KCST makes automotive fuel systems and engine control units for Honda. If you drive an Acura or a Honda, part of your car originated in Tarboro, NC.

It isn’t every day that you can see how a component in your car is made.  I had that opportunity yesterday at the kick-off for the 2012 Manufacturing Makes It Real Network at Keihin Carolina System Technology (KCST) in Tarboro, NC.  KCST makes automotive fuel systems and engine control units for Honda.  If you drive an Acura or a Honda, part of your car originated in Tarboro, NC.

KCST uses advanced robotics technologies and automated manufacturing processes to produce their parts, and their facility is impressive.  Even more impressive than the facility were the continuous improvement processes the company has in place.  I never fully understood the importance of organizational culture for successful continous improvement until I visited KCST.  It was clear their organizational culture believes in and supports lean and other continuous improvement methodologies, and it was clear from the top of the organization all the way down to the production floor.  The plant tour included numerous examples of employees empowered by a lean culture and how they were able to solve problems quickly, effectively and profitably.

MMIRN-KCST-2(1).jpg KCST is also very committed to being a responsible member of the community, including environmental stewardship.  In only a few years, they have implemented improvements that have not only dramatically reduced their environmental footprint (one accomplishment is achieving “zero landfill” status) but also generated substantial cost savings, proving that sustainability can improve your bottom line.

KCST and its wonderful facility were only part of the story yesterday, though.  100 people, many of them representing local manufacturers, gathered for the first Network event of 2012.  After KCST provided an overview of their corporate vision, Steve Hill, the Excecutive Director of STEM East discussed the familiar workforce challenges faced by manufacturers and how STEM East is addressing them through innovative partnerships between schools and industry. 

My favorite part of any Network event is always the presentations by attending manufacturers because they demonstrate the variety of products made in North Carolina.  Fifteen manufacturers presented, including a fork lift manufacturer, a crane manufacturer, packaging producers, foam manufacturers, an elevator cable manufacturer, a faucet manufacturer and a key manufacturer.

Article written by KeAnne Hoeg, NC State University Industrial Extension Service

http://www.ies.ncsu.edu/news-center/blog/Impressive-KCST-Kicks-Off-2012-Manufacturing-Network