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Operations, Manufacturing Manager, Manufacturing Engineering Manager

Maryville, Tennessee, 37801, United States
April 19, 2012
Contact Info:

Robert C. Laughlin, Jr.

**** ******** *****, *********, ********* 37801



Manufacturing professional with a broad, metal working background in Fortune 500 environments. Unique manufacturing engineering experience in process improvement, capital management, process reengineering, design for manufacturability, tooling development and project management. Skilled in the application of process improvement methodologies: LEAN/5S, Six Sigma/SPC, GDT, ISO/QS. A front-line leader with an impressive track record of delivering quality products, reducing costs, and building strong teams.


* Leadership

* Quality Control / Assurance

* Process Re-Engineering

* Product Innovation

* Safe Workplace * Coaching / Motivating/ Mentoring

* Workforce Training

* Project Management

* Capital Budgeting and Justification

* Customer / Vendor Relations * Continuous Improvement – LEAN

* Departmental Budget Control

* Negotiation

* Conflict Resolution

* Six Sigma Green Belt Training


Northrop Grumman – Remotec

December 2001 July 2011

Clinton, Tennessee

Manager, Manufacturing Engineering & Production Operations October 2004 – July 2011

Led production and manufacturing engineering departments for plant with 75,000 sq ft, 150 employees, and sales of $50MM. This facility produced robots for deployment in hazardous environments.

• Reduced assembly cost of all commercial vehicles by an average of 25% and increased throughput by 38% (annual savings in excess of $2.8MM) by successfully implementing cellular manufacturing and LEAN methodologies.

o Received the President’s Leadership Award for leading the process improvement team.

• Drove other continuous improvement team projects that saved over $250,000.

• Managed capital planning and justification activities.

o Provided Capital requirements and justification to upper management for an RF screen room to test production radios in-house vs. actual field-testing. Reduced testing expense and cycle time by half or $150 per radio.

• Collaborated with EH&S manager to install Safety Awareness electronic message board and established stringent EH&S training program throughout the organization.

• Reduced overall on-hand bulk cost in excess of $80,000 by directing the process improvement team in implementing a bulk inventory consolidation/reduction plan.

• Successfully introduced two new robot platforms into production.

• Maintained and monitored SQDC metrics to assess overall performance and drive process improvements efforts.

• Ran daily production/safety reviews at beginning of shift.

Manager, Manufacturing Engineering October 2002 – October 2004

Responsible for establishing the manufacturing-engineering department. Led all continuous improvement efforts. Eliminated silos to improve teamwork.

• Justified creation of a manufacturing-engineering department to senior management.

• Developed the long-range production process improvement plan that drove the results 2004 - 2011.

• Trained the production operators and support teams in LEAN methodologies and implemented 5S in all production departments.

• Reduced inventory by 33% ($4.0 M).

• Drove strategic outsourcing effort that resulted in annual savings in excess of $200,000.

Manufacturing Engineer December 2001 – October 2002

Responsible for providing engineering support to production departments.

• Reduced cycle times in excess of 30% by working with machining center programmers to shorten tool paths.

• Worked with designers to standardize similar product sub-component designs.

Industrial Fabricators, Incorporated

April 2001 December 2001

Gastonia, North Carolina

Manufacturing Engineer

Directed manufacturing operations: evaluated equipment/labor needs and determined process requirements to efficiently produce all new parts and tooling fixtures. Provided troubleshooting and continuous improvement support to increase business from $15MM to $30MM annually.

• Provided Capital requirements and justification to upper management.


o Successfully researched, selected and justified a press brake to address increasing demand.

• Drove cycle time improvement efforts.


o Addressed cycle time issue on CNC machining center. Adjusted tool path and sequencing to reduce cycle time by 25% to achieve cost target.

o Addressed cycle time issue on CNC laser cutting machine by adjusting sequencing of cuts to reduce cycle time by 12% to achieve cost target.

John Deere CWP

November 1996 April 2001

Knoxville, Tennessee

Advanced Engineering Analyst

Responsible for green field startup of new facility: budget of $16,000,000 for cutting and forming areas. Delivered project $4,000,000 under budget. Responsibilities included evaluation, selection, purchasing, and installation of all CNC laser, plasma cutting machines, NC forming equipment, and CNC punching machine. Personally designed all material handling systems and form tooling.

• Hand selected for Value Improvement Team: reduced cost of each skid steer product model in excess of $300.


o Reduced individual pedal assembly cost $20 for a total savings in excess of $22,000 annually by reengineering the pedal assembly of skid steer.

o Coordinated cost savings effort with suppliers and negotiated cost reductions as part of a value improvement team. Results: Annual savings in excess of $100,000 in a single year.

The two major cost improvement efforts consisted of negotiating lower pricing for steel plate and machined bosses by providing long-term agreements and providing EDI (electronic data interchange) to each supplier.

• Assigned to teams as Process Pro: oversaw cost improvement activities of Boom, ROPS (roll-over protection system), Chassis, and Attachment teams.


o Utilized time studies and video surveillance to re-layout two process lines. Results: Increased output from 35 to 60 units per day with no increase in manpower and minimal investment: annual savings in excess of $800,000.

• Provided Capital requirements and justification to upper management supporting the integration of an Attachment manufacturing cell.

Freightliner Corporation

May 1988 November 1996

Gastonia, North Carolina

Manufacturing Engineer

Responsible for evaluating, recommending and installing all manufacturing equipment in the Plate Shop, overseeing the creation and maintenance of all CNC equipment programming, reviewing all Engineering Change Notifications, specifying and purchasing all punch and form tooling and providing troubleshooting and continuous improvement support.


Selected to the “Eagles Program” - management development program


Presidents award for outstanding contribution to the Value Analysis Program

• Responsible for three gap and ten straight side stamping presses ranging from 75 to 800 tons. Reduced changeover time by 30% by establishing a standardized set of three die-set heights, standardized die-set locator pin patterns, and the installation of hydraulic die clamping.

• Increased vibratory finishing capacity to address increased finishing demand.

• Introduced laser-cutting capabilities into production. Improved material utilization by an average of 3%.

• Introduced bowl feeders into spot welding department. Doubled output for all jobs requiring bowl feeder.

• Provided Capital requirements and justification to upper management.


o Successfully researched, selected and justified three large coil feeders for straight side presses and one coil feeder for one gap press. Results: The new simplified feeder design decreased each setup by a minimum of 15 minutes.

o Successfully persuaded management and a team of manufacturing engineers to use CNC laser technology instead of NC punch technology to maximize sheet stock use. Results: The elimination of tooling costs through use of lasers enabled low volume work orders to be produced in significantly less time yielding a corresponding 5% increase in regular production output.


Master of Business Administration, University of Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

B.S. Mechanical Engineering Technology, Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Additional classes/training taken:

LEAN – The University of Tennessee & John Deere

SPC – Freightliner Corp.

Kiazen Facilitator – The University of Tennessee

Demand Flow Technology – John Deere

ISO – Northrop Grumman - Remotec

EH&S – Freightliner Corp., John Deere & Northrop Grumman - Remotec

7 Habits for Highly Effective People – Northrop Grumman - Remotec