Lean Principles Have Steered Takumi Precision Engineering in a New Direction

Pictured at the Mid-West Lean Network workshop in Takumi Precision Engineering (from left):Donal Galligan, operations manager, Colm Diggins, materials manager, Shane McMahon, engineering manager, Kevin McCarthy, manufacturing engineer and Gerry Reynolds, managing director, Takumi; Neil Enright, Molex and Mid-West Lean Network chair; Robert Hernan, Enterprise Ireland; Gene Leonard, LBS Partners; and Mike O’Neill, facilities manager, Takumi. 

Supplying components to aerospace and medical device manufacturers, both highly regulated sectors, requires engineering of the highest precision and that’s where Limerick-based Takumi Precision Engineering excels. In business since the late 1990s, this is a company which works quietly in the background, employing 60 people at its Raheen Business Park facility, manufacturing low, medium and high-volume components.

Opening its doors to host a recent Mid-West Lean Network workshop, the extent of this indigenous company’s capabilities was revealed with the visit being described as exceptional.

Addressing the workshop, which attracted almost 40 lean practitioners from 15 companies in the region, Takumi’s managing director, Gerry Reynolds, described lean as a journey and not something that happens in a straight line.

Using external consultants to energise the transition to lean, Takumi has tailored the process to suit its particular needs and now has a critical mass of empowered ‘lean thinkers’ within the organisation who, through lean, have successfully eliminated waste in the company’s manufacturing process.

“We use A3 boards to manage projects within the company and rank each project according to the degree of complexity’, stated engineering manager Shane McMahon.

“A3s help us to solve problems. We start out by identifying the problem and its root cause and then involve team members in seeking a resolution. Getting people involved creates critical thinkers. It also shows others what lean can achieve and the added payback to the company is that opportunities get identified better and more often.”

Company founder Gerry Reynolds believes that Takumi, whilst using lean for the past ten years, is still only a novice. He is a total advocate of and an exponent of lean: “There is a huge amount of untapped brain power in every organisation. Lean, and A3s in particular, encourage staff to use their brains and the resultant changes in the way work is done can be immense and extremely powerful.”

Speaking after the event, Shannon Chamber’s chief executive Helen Downes said: “The objective of the Mid-West Lean Network is to strengthen and increase an existing culture of lean within the Shannon and the wider Mid-West region to enable companies to broaden and strengthen their competitiveness through knowledge sharing and benchmarking against each other and different industries. 

“We see this as a key enabler to attract new investment and jobs growth within the region. Lean is enabling companies to become more cost effective and better service providers, creating long-term value for their customers. Shannon Chamber is simply facilitating an exchange between companies. Some do lean differently and better than others; it is all about learning through these workshops.

“Takumi showcased their lean principles first-hand; this will be invaluable to so many who can bring some of their learnings back to their businesses. There is so much expertise in this region and we are delighted that Gerry and his team offered to host what was a hugely successful workshop.

“Supports are available through our development agencies, Enterprise Ireland, IDA and the Local Enterprise Office, for companies wishing to introduce or increase their lean activities and we would encourage businesses to avail of these,”  added Ms Downes.

 The Mid-West Lean Network workshop in Takumi was the third event held this year. The next workshop, which will deal with Lean/Six Sigma or MOS (Multi Observation Studies) will take place in Molex in Shannon on Friday, June 9 from 2-3:45pm. Bookings can be made via www.shannonchamber.ie/events/mid-west-lean-network-workshop-4-mos/

 For more information on Enterprise Ireland’s Lean offer check out: