PHILADELPHIA-The Institute for World Class Manufacturing (IWCM), the education and training program operated by the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC), will honor 120 newly certified Lean and Six Sigma graduates at a ceremony to be held at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club Thursday, June 24. The event will include the presentation of an award to Thomas Medical Products, Inc., a Malvern, PA, medical device company for their leadership in assisting other local manufacturers in harnessing the power of lean methodologies to increase profitability, and set the stage for growth. Building a cluster of manufacturers committed to lean strengthens the region’s overall economy.

The graduates have completed a dozen courses in a range of disciplines critical to proficiency in continuous improvement training including principles of lean manufacturing, value stream mapping and cellular manufacturing. The training was held in locations all across the Philadelphia area spanning several months and included “hands-on” training and tours of manufacturing facilities in the region. Traditionally confined to the plant floor, lean has grown in popularity with the restructuring of the economy, and is now carried through the entire organization structure. Graduates Thursday will range from technicians to CEOs.

“This is truly an impressive program,” says Joe Houldin, CEO of Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center. “We are seeing increased demand for our lean educational services. It is no longer the exclusive domain of manufacturing. We are seeing companies in other sectors, such as healthcare, beginning to adopt lean to right size their business in an effort to improve their productivity. This latest class is at the tip of the spear in terms of a new management strategy focused on increasing profitability to fuel future growth.”

The Institute for World Class Manufacturing is the only learning organization devoted exclusively to Manufacturing Excellence in the greater Philadelphia area. Since 1995, the program has engaged more than 2,800 people from more than 550 area manufacturers in performance-driven certifications, workshops and on-site learning programs. Of that, some 1,800 graduates have gone to apply their training in area businesses in positions as varied as plant floor technicians to middle management and CFOs.

Lean is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste (non-value added activities) and creating value for the customer. Lean transformation typifies the best in leadership, culture, strategy and operational excellence that defines advanced manufacturers today. DVIRC has executed more than 600 projects for very small, 30 person firms, to large multi-plant global businesses working on three continents.