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Targeting Customer Service and Market Growth Using Lean Methodology. Presentation by George Foss, CEO. 3L Filters Ltd. Cambridge Ontario. High Performance Manufacturing Consortium Conference May 13, 2004 -- Oakville, Ontario. Presentation Topics. Company Profile The Need to Change

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Targeting customer service and market growth using lean methodology l.jpg
Targeting Customer Serviceand Market GrowthUsing Lean Methodology

Presentation by

George Foss, CEO

3L Filters Ltd.



High Performance Manufacturing Consortium Conference

May 13, 2004 -- Oakville, Ontario

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Presentation Topics

  • Company Profile

  • The Need to Change

  • Why Now?

  • ‘Front Office’ Initiatives

  • Measured Improvements

  • Future Vision

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What We Do

Engineered Filtration Solutions for Industrial and Nuclear Power Plant Applications

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Company Profile

  • Established in 1965

  • Head office and 2 manufacturing plants in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

  • Total 60,000 ft2 manufacturing capacity

  • Design, development, fabrication and servicing of high value-added liquid filtration and separation systems

  • Reputation for fast customer response

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Keys to Success

Complementary partnership skills…

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Core Competencies

State-of-the-art Engineering & Manufacturing

In-house design, analysis and manufacturing


Seismic Analysis

Stress Analysis


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Market Focus

Nuclear Products

50% of revenue

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Nuclear Power Plants Served


  • OPG Bruce-A

  • OPG Bruce-B

  • OPG Pickering-A

  • OPG Pickering-B

  • OPG Darlington

  • NBEPC Point Lepreau

  • HQ Gentilley

  • Maple-1 (AECL Chalk River)

  • Maple-2 (AECL Chalk River )


  • Cordoba Argentina

  • KEPCO Wolsong Unit-1 Korea

  • KEPCO Wolsong Unit-2 Korea

  • KEPCO Wolsong Unit-3 Korea

  • KEPCO Wolsong Unit-4 Korea

  • Cernavoda Unit-1 Romania

  • Qinshan Unit-1 China

  • Qinshan Unit-2 China

  • Washington Power

  • North East Utility

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Nuclear Products

Disposable Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Filter for Nuclear Stations

Design & Engineering

Manufacturing & Assembly

Test & Performance

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Nuclear Products

Permanent Nuclear Filter Vessels with Replaceable Basket

Primary Heat Transport Filter

PHT Gland Seal Filter

Moderator System Filter

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Nuclear Products

Disposable Filter Baskets for Miscellaneous Nuclear Filters

Shield Tank & End Shield Cooling System Filter Basket Pickering-A NGS

PHT Filter Basket for Darlington NGS

PHT Gland Seal and F/M Filter Basket for Pickering NGS

Spent Fuel Bay Basket For Pt. Lepreau NGS

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Nuclear Products

4000 SCFM Single Tower Vapour Recovery Dryers

3831 DR-1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10

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Nuclear Products

600 SCFM Twin Tower Vapour Recovery Dryers

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Market Focus

Commercial Product Applications

Engineered to Order

50% of revenue

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Industrial Clients Served

  • All major engineering consulting companies

    • Fluor Daniel

    • Stone and Webster

    • SNC Lavalin

    • Bechtel

    • Kellog Brown and Root

  • All major Refineries and Chemical Plants

    • Exxon, Shell Oil, British Petroleum, Petro Canada, Chevron

    • Formosa Chemical, Formosa Plastics, Dow Chemical

  • Many industrial and automotive in-plant filtration applications

  • Aviation installations

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Aviation Products

Vertical Filter/SeparatorsforTank Farms

Compact V and VV Series Filter/Separators comply fully with API Bulletin 1581, Third Edition, requirements for Class B equipment.

  • Compact design

  • Code Qualification

  • Simplified Maintenance

  • Field Proven

  • High Performance

Compact Filter/ Separator Vessels for Fixed Installations

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Aviation Products

Fuel MonitorsforMobile Refueling Trucks

Filters with superior performance and reliability for assuring clean, dry fuel, normally used at the final point in an aircraft fueling system.

Custom Designed 3l-400-20

Fuel Monitor

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Aviation Products

Horizontal Filter / Separator / Monitors

forSkid Refueling Components

Filters designed to remove particles and coalesce emulsified water from hydrocarbon fluids.

The horizontal filter/separator design provides more convenient access to the cartridges than the vertical design.

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General Industrial Filtration

VF Series Fluid Filters

Vertically oriented filters using industry-standard pleated paper media to remove particulate to 0.5 microns.

They can be constructed to house numerous cartridges within a variety of diameters to accommodate flow rates.

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Water / Beverage Industry

FWH Micron Filters

Vertically oriented filters designed to remove solid contaminants from a liquid stream using standard spunyarn cartridges which create effective separation using depth filtration. May also accommodate pleated elements.

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Paint / Ink Industry

Multibag Filters

As standard or custom design, the BF series filters are able to handle high flow rates and large concentrations of particulate for a wide range of liquids.

Constructed to ASME Sec.VIII, MBF series filters are available as code or non-code vessels.

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Pipeline Course Filtration


Horizontally oriented vessels containing replaceable coalescent filter packs. A sump collects separated water and filtered contaminant for easy removal.

Repack Cartridges

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The Need for Change

The old ways weren’t working

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Customer Resource Depletion

Changes in Manufacturing Code

Offshore Competition

Labour Pool


Target The Vision

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Corporate Issues

  • Responsiveness to customers

  • Availability of skilled engineering personnel

  • Employee loyalty

  • Rapid changes in technology

  • Quality

  • Market focus

  • Trend forecasting

  • Profitability

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Market Issues

  • Price pressures

  • Rising Canadian dollar

  • Need for global reach

  • Declining customer loyalty

  • Customer convenience

  • Customer resource depletion

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Where to Focus?

  • Manufacturing?

    • Currently as efficient as feasible

    • Engineer-to-order production entirely dependent on 'front-end' processes

  • Engineering!

    • Greatest opportunity for improvement

    • Sales performance directly affected

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How to Improve?

Apply principles of

Lean Manufacturing

Step #1

Value-Stream Map Analysis

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The Old Way

10 weeks

Typical Time Frame

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Why Now?


Economic Boom of China & Pacific Rim








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  • Get closer to the Customer

  • Eliminate internal layers that waste time and money

  • Build on in-house product knowledge

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  • Standardize products and processes

  • Empower Sales staff

  • Improve company performance

  • errors

  • Engineering throughput

  • Quotation success rate

  • response time

  • Manufacturing delivery lead time

  • Cost competitiveness

  • Quality control

  • Require payback in less than 1 year

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The Steps

Adopting a new Lean methodology…

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1)Management Commitment

  • Reviewed technology marketplace

    • Partnered with established engineering software development firm

    • Applied a proven technology platform

  • Selected 13 product families for:

    • Detailed Design

    • Bill of Materials

    • Fabrication Planning

    • Costing

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2)Defined Business Requirements

  • Analyzed requirements for:

    • Sales

    • Engineering

    • Purchasing

    • Manufacturing

  • Identified problems and constraints

    • e.g. lack of internal qualified engineering resources

  • Collaborated with vendor to:

    • Create a simple web user interface

    • Formalize input / output documentation

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3)Built Knowledge Database





Configuration Control

Rules & Data

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4)Integrated with Operations

  • Connected to existing network

  • Wrote and tested ERP link to access:

    • Customer records

    • Cost standards (purchasing & processing)

  • Trained staff

    • Sales to operate it

    • Engineering to maintain it

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Overview of Implementation

  • Multiuser environment suited for operation by non-technical staff

    • Custom interface for specification input

    • Web-based, works on existing PC network

    • Server with embedded CAD engine, SQL database, document output translators

    • Generates detailed 3D CAD assembly

    • Transfers B.O.M.s to ERP for costing

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Intuitive Interface

Product Specs

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Automated Design

3D CAD Assembly

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Costing Detail

B.O.M. & Routing

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Quote Drawing

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Sales Collaboration

3D Reference

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Automation Product Examples

Component Detail

Welding Detail

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Innovation Is Fostered

With more time for Engineering to improve product, new inventions yield new competitive advantage…

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Compare Old & New Closures


Swing Bolt

Effortless patented

Easy Access

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  • Sales Quotations

    • Rapid product configuration and costing

    • Design visualization and approval documents

  • Purchasing - Accurate Bill of Materials

  • Production Engineering

    • 3D CAD assemblies delivered in minutes

    • Last-minute design check, quick addition of custom product details where necessary

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Improvements (on Commercial Product Lines)

  • Reduced average quote turnaround from 14 days to 3 day

  • Increased sales success rate 8% to 25%

  • Reduced pre-production engineering work 90% with generated CAD model

  • Reduced schedule conflicts between standard & custom engineering by 40%

  • Product quality

delivery lead time

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Future Vision

  • Improve ERP interface (or replace ERP)

  • Generate all low-level manufacturing instructions to improve costing detail

  • Expose system to external Internet for access by distribution networks

  • Add more flexibility for integrated system product (e.g Skid Packages)

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  • Targets for Lean were met

    • Commercial products and processes now standardized

    • Company efficiency improved dramatically

    • Initiative payback less than 1 year

  • A need for continuous improvement

    • Further streamlining of processes

    • Introduction of new products

    • Accommodating changing legislation

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Targeting Customer Serviceand Market GrowthUsing Lean Methodology

Contact Information

George Foss, CEO

3L Filters Ltd.

427 Elgin St.

Cambridge, Ontario

Tel: (519) 621-9949 ext 330

Email: [email protected]