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Coats’ Ben Pryor Embraces Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing and continuous improvement are the main focus at The Coats Company these days. Listen to the interview with Ben Pryor to learn more.

In this interview, Ben Pryor, Vice President of Commercial at Coats, formerly known as Hennessy Industries, discusses his background and career journey. He started in the finance industry but transitioned to manufacturing, falling in love with the field. He worked in manufacturing and made his way into the automotive space. Pryor worked at Myers Tire Supply before joining Coats. He shares the influence of mentors, including his father and father-in-law, who taught him valuable lessons in manufacturing and continuous improvement. In his earlier career at Hennessy Industries, Pryor underwent a four-month immersion in learning lean principles by going to the “Gemba,” the place where the work is done. Pryor sees this experience as invaluable, building on his previous exposure to lean principles while working in manufacturing. The philosophy of lean manufacturing, emphasizing continuous improvement and waste reduction, has shaped his perspective and decision-making. Coats recently underwent a rebranding to focus on lean philosophy, customer experiences, and productivity solutions. Pryor emphasizes the importance of data and shop productivity software in addressing technician shortages and improving customer experiences. Looking ahead, Coats plans to evolve its offerings to accommodate the changes in the automotive industry, particularly with the emergence of EVs.

Coats’ Ben Pryor Has Embraced Lean Thinking

Continuous improvement, known as “lean” in the manufacturing world, has been a guiding force for Ben Pryor, Vice President of Commercial for the Coats Company.

Earlier in his career at Hennessy Industries (parent company of Coats), Pryor spent four months learning lean principles by going to the “Gemba” – a Japanese term that refers to the place where the work is done.

“I and four other individuals went out and interviewed hundreds of technicians, service managers, and shop owners in order to bring that knowledge back and identify specific problems that our industry is facing today as well as in the next three to five years, and then provide a solution offering and get it validated,” Pryor explains.

Pryor, appearing on “AMN Drivetime” with Bill Babcox, says the four-month lean immersion was “a rich experience” that continues to inform his thinking and decisions. The experience built on his previous exposure to lean while working for a manufacturing business in the St. Louis area earlier in his career.

“Being able to see lean manufacturing and the lean philosophy in action, very much driven by continuous improvement and identifying waste, and being brought into that fold more or less baptized into it and trained up with it, gives you a different perspective,” Pryor says. It’s a philosophy that Coats is “very interested in sharing” with its customers and other stakeholders, he adds.

(Read the full article on Brake and Front End)