The Four Pillars of YL – Lean Manufacturing

Our lean journey began in 1993 with the help of The Goal by Eli Goldratt in combination with The New Manufacturing Challenge by Kyoshi Suzaki, both pictured to the right. These books focused on a combination of training, inventory, housekeeping and so much more!

The knowledge that we, as a company, have gained from these novels has helped us in every aspect of our lean manufacturing journey throughout the past 30+ years.

Standard Work to Improve Quality

In the very beginning of our lean journey, we decided we needed to develop a ‘One Best Way’ process for our front end and production workflows. Each department or like position got together to determine a standard way to complete everything from the quote process to running a specific construction on press. This process helped us not only in the documentation of our processes, but also to learn from each other how to improve our current workflow. Creating process maps and standard work is still a key part of our culture as we implement new programs and machinery.

Part of the standard work on press is to run all labels with vision inspected. This technology ensures that we catch any blemishes, missing print or registration issues and can edit them out of the customers finished rolls.


In 2016, we implemented a Training for Excellence Center, pictured below, that utilizes tactile interaction as well as video engagement. This room is where all of our team members take any certification or training testing. We have created training tracks for all YL team members by highlighting previous defects in order to mitigate any future mistakes.

In 2019, we also implemented tiers that outline the training necessary for a production team member to be prepared for the next promotable position. These training tiers show our team clearly that the more you learn at YL, the more you earn!

Visual Management

In 2020, 99.1% of our orders shipped complete and on time which is quite an accomplishment! We have our visual management to thank for that!

For every press and office team, there is a visual management board tracking ongoing projects, pictured below. The items on these boards are discussed during our daily GEMBA walks on each shift. We also have a master quality board that tracks the progress on any internal and external defects which is the starting point for the Office/1st Shift GEMBA walk.

Cross Functional Teams

Our latest work in our lean management journey is implementing Cross Functional Teams (CFTs) to ensure that our improvement stays continuous. A respected industry friend, Paul Brauss, brought the CFT concept to Yerecic Label through his book Dare to Improve Your Legacy.

The CFTs are 8-10 team members with a variety of positions represented. The team meets weekly to track progress on current initiatives and regularly reviews barriers that the team is facing and determines the best way to address the barriers.

Overall, the key to lean manufacturing is keeping a focus on Continuous improvement! Want to learn more about our lean journey? Reach out today!