Lehi—Nature’s Sunshine Products, a leading natural health and wellness company engaged in the manufacture and direct selling of nutritional and personal care products, has flourished for 45 years, one of only three nutritional supplement companies registered with the Direct Selling Association to reach that milestone, thanks in part to a commitment to setting the standard for quality and operational excellence. Nowhere is this more evident than in the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, where the development of a LEAN culture has transformed the company’s operations.
For decades, Nature’s Sunshine has adopted and adapted new manufacturing and testing technologies and processes to maintain its position at the forefront of the nutritional supplement industry. Led by Chief Operations Officer Sue Armstrong, named a 2017 CXO of the Year by Utah Business Magazine, the company has implemented a LEAN culture to apply the best practices of successful businesses to its operations workforce.
Developed by Henry Ford with the advent of the assembly line and enhanced by Toyota Motor Company, LEAN manufacturing is generally characterized by employee empowerment that drives both waste reduction and production enhancements. Continuous improvement is the foundational principle of LEAN manufacturing.
For Nature’s Sunshine, it begins with the Champions of Operational Excellence class, a 24-week course that has seen more than 120 individuals from multiple functional areas trained in LEAN ideology, tools and techniques, while also providing leadership training. The class introduces A3 problem solving and encourages greater teamwork, arming attendees with the motivation and capability to drive positive changes within the organization. Employees apply the principles learned in the Champions of Operational Excellence class on a daily basis in an effort to achieve Total Quality Management.
Regular weekly meetings in Nature’s Sunshine’s Innovation Hall allow management to review all A3s with cross functional teams, track progress and wins, and receive new ideas and suggestions for improvements. Every employee is also empowered to make individual and group improvements by submitting daily Kaizens.
All of this has led to numerous improvements to Nature’s Sunshine’s manufacturing and quality control functions, including the implementation of Redzone Software on its production lines. A tool for driving cultural change, Redzone provides real-time data capture and analysis of downtime on production lines. It provides a framework for operators and empowers them to identify and correct the real issues, resulting in increased production and overall equipment efficiency.
Redzone recently held a Continuous Improvement Event and tour at Nature’s Sunshine’s manufacturing facility highlighting the company’s successful implementation and the double-digit increase in productivity that followed.
Nature’s Sunshine’s improvements in the manufacturing plant have also been recognized by Workers Compensation Fund. Changes in operations strategies resulted in a 40 percent reduction of incidents and accidents in the facility, earning the company the Workers Compensation Fund 2016 Safety Award.
Known for setting industry standards and delivering the highest quality products, Nature’s Sunshine’s ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in every facet of its company is laying a foundation for another 45 years of growth and success.