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Alpha’s Going Lean

11 Dec

Lean is all about being organized and more efficient, using less work to maintain or exceed the same quality product.  AlphaUSA is continually transforming our work areas and processes to be lean.

Long time Alpha employee, Mike Hootman, is championing this lean movement. Along side Production Manager Doug Prime, they are continuing to make sure that our facility is becoming  more efficient and safer day-to-day.  Alpha has even brought in a new set of eyes, the Lean Learning Center (LLC), to push us further.  The LLC has been hosting monthly labs for our Alpha employees onsite, enabling us to learn lean right on our own equipment, and in our own offices.

The rules of lean are simple: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

Take some time to use the “5 S’s” in your life, and you’ll see how helpful a little lean can be.

Alpha’s Got a Greener Point of View

22 Apr

Turn off the lights when you’re not in a room. Take a quick shower, not a bath. Recycle your junk mail. We all know we can make a difference and save resources by making little changes day to day.

There aren’t really quick tips to running 125,000 sq. feet of facilities greener. But, Alpha is not about quick fixes, we have a serious commitment to our environment and planet.

One thing we’ve done is change the lighting systems in our manufacturing facility, switching from 400W High-Intensity Discharge bulbs to T5 High-Output bulbs. If you’re wondering what that means, it translates into an energy savings of 50% while giving off twice the light. But that’s just the beginning of our story.

That’s why we’ve rolled out our new environmental page, so you can learn about how we innovate and update our business to do our part in saving the planet. From recycling materials to changing our processes and work habits, Alpha has been working hard for the little blue ball in our solar system we call home.

Happy Earth Day.

Return to Service

14 Mar

In December, you read about Jack Barghusen, the injured Marine from Wisconsin.

On January 7th, Jack received the Heart of the Hero Award at his home. The package included three pages full of signatures, included were those of Rotarians, Alpha employees and other Livonia residents all signing to show their appreciation.

Other efforts were made to show appreciation for Jack and our troops. Friends and family put together the “We Got Your Back Jack” Fundraiser to raise money to help with his recovery and rehabilitation.

Jack has since returned to his unit for limited service.

 

This is What We Do.

9 Feb

It’s what we are talking about in this town:

Did you see that Chrysler commercial?

The “Imported From Detroit” ad has rallied supporters worldwide around our city, its story, its people.

Reinvention, a living reality Detroit has become famous for,  is a clearly featured theme of the ad and its focus on Detroit as a gritty hardworking city– highlighting our region’s trip to “hell and back.”

The most important and moving aspect of the ad was its focus on Detroit’s talent. It paints a picture of Detroit through its dedicated citizens.  The stalwart Detroiters you see embellishing the cityscape aren’t make believe. They are a real part of our community, our mission.

Chrysler invested in the two minute, longest-ever SuperBowl ad of course with the intention of selling vehicles. What they ended up doing was telling our story of determination to upwards of 100 million people.  And we are proud.

This is the Motor City. This is what we do.


Honoring Officer Nehasil

28 Jan

Last week,  Livonia Police Officer Larry Nehasil was killed in the line of duty, investigating a burglary.  Larry followed a suspect into the backyard, shots were fired, and both officer and suspect were found dead.

The loss of Officer Larry Nehasil has struck a heartstring with many in our community, and has reminded us that our police force takes the risk of life for us every time they go to work.

The community has reached out in a multitude of ways offering support to Larry’s family. Read about these heartwarming community efforts in today’s Observer.  Alpha is taking part in the efforts of the Livonia A.M. Rotary and Chamber of Commerce, who have worked together to organize the PATROL for Us (Police Always Taking Risk Of Life for Us) pledge-a-thon challenge. The pledge-a-thon is designed with a snowball effect in mind. Each participating organization impacts the amount the other organizations will donate, growing and growing a larger overall donation (to take part click here). Some organizations have already stepped up to the challenge. Among the first were Merribowl LanesMid-5 Auto Supply, and Big Boy.  In March, we will be wrapping up the Pledge-a-thon at Merribowl, where they will be hosting an event in support of the Larry Nehasil Memorial Fund.

We encourage you to get involved with these efforts and to keep a look out for more updates!

Inch-vesting

4 Jan

“Investing” brings to mind a large financial commitment in something valuable, bringing in profit over time. However, a more innovative approach could be small.

Mary Lorene Carter and Jerry Paffendorf are the brains behind Loveland and the apparent inventors of micro-investing. Their idea: everyone can help revitalize Detroit by purchasing a single inch of the city, receiving a little deed in the mail. Inches are purchased online, viewable on a virtual map, and directly accessible via a drive to the city. Anyone can have a stake in the city “microhood”.

Loveland teaches a common lesson for any project: the effectiveness of working piece by piece. Last week at the Livonia A.M. Rotary Club meeting, members discussed some seemingly overwhelming social issues. Then Chuck, fellow rotary member & Alpha’s COO, cited the Loveland micro-investing concept, to encourage members to simply “do what you can”, nothing is going to be solved in one swoop.

We can all be challenged to inch-vest in our own communities, not to literally buy a chunk of vacant lot, but to give a piece of free time or make a small donation to a worthy organization.

You can help grow the value of your own community, inch by inch.

screen shot of a "microhood" from the Loveland website.

 

NextGen Conceptonators

21 Dec

Recently, Alpha hosted some special guests, members of the Livonia Public School’s FIRST Robotics Competition team. Bob Stewart, Director of Engineering and Product/Process Development, guided them around our manufacturing and engineering facilities, discussing conceptualization and day-to-day life at Alpha.

The “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” Program is about fostering science and technology skills while inspiring innovation. FRC was founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway PT; he refers to FIRST as a “sport for the mind”.

The local team includes students from all of Livonia’s high schools, and has about two dozen members. The students are enthusiastic about the different FIRST Robotics games and events and gave technical explanations of the event rules. Each team constructs a robot, designed to compete in several events over a six week period.

Alpha plans to support the team in their endeavors through our willingness to supply steel components and other services to help with their projects.  We are excited to help mentor such an ingenious program.

These inventive, prospective engineers or others like them will literally be the “NextGen” of Michigan’s innovative future.

Bob Stewart guiding a tour of Alpha's Manufacturing Facility.

 

The team members posing on steps in the Engineering Center.

Pictured: Bob Stweart (Alpha), Kaho Hasebe (Stevenson), Tom Lang (leader/board member), Gary Komora (Churchill), Hope Winkles (Churchill), Anna Carlini (Stevenson)

 

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