Success Stories

Bobcat Increases Productivity by 55% and Reduces Customer Demand Time through Lean Principles

Bobcat Company

Bobcat Company, located in Gwinner, N.D., is a manufacturer of skid steer loaders. Founded in 1958, by Les, Cliff, Roger and Irv Melroe, Bobcat Company was a subsidiary of the Ingersoll Rand Company from 1995 until July 2007 when it was sold to Doosan Infracore. 

Bobcat Company’s mission is to be recognized as a world leader in the engineering, manufacture, and marketing of compact industrial, construction, and agri-business equipment, attachments and related services

Long Assembly Times

I.R. Bobcat believes that continuous improvement of its products, processes, services, and skills provides long-term success for its employees, dealers, and customers. It has used Impact Dakota, a NIST MEP network affiliate, in the past, and called on its specialists again to address the assembly time on its Model 400 and 500 skid steer loaders. The cycle time of one machine was taking 52 minutes, but needed to be reduced to 22 minutes to meet customer demand. 

Lean Tools

Dakota MEP staff and I.R. Bobcat employees spent a week together, beginning with Lean 101 training for all who work on the 400/500 assembly line to give them the tools and knowledge to move to the next stage of lean transformation. Following this training, the Impact Dakota production specialists joined assembly line employees on the shop floor to analyze together strategies to make the process more efficient. They then began to simulate a mock up of different strategies. The results from the finals kaizen showed a substantial increase in the hours-per-unit metric, reducing customer demand time to 17 minutes, even less than the original goal of 22 minutes. 

Increased Productivity and Reduced Customer Demand Time

  • Reduced customer demand time to 17 minutes.
  • Reduced floor space requirement by 22 percent.
  • Increased productivity (hours per unit) by 55 percent.
  • Established quality at the source inspections at each step on the assembly.
  • Reduced walking and driving distances for parts retrieval.
  • Reduced inspection time for methods equipment. 

Bobcat lives up to its reputation as “tough, quick and agile” as it slashes assembly time by more than half.

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