“When we connect activity to improved performance, it generates momentum and cultural change.” - Cara Thompson, Director, Corporate Milliken Performance System
do you achieve excellence, and then maintain it on a daily basis?
athletes, musicians, and yes, manufacturers alike, achieving excellence
requires planning, assessing, and refining until you can consistently produce
superior results each time, every time. It becomes second nature to excel at a
high level, create exceptional work, and produce quality outcomes.
Milliken, we call it operational excellence, and our commitment to operational
excellence has elevated Milliken with the global industries we serve for
After years of dedication to this ideal, we formalized and
structured our approach to become the Milliken Performance System (MPS), Milliken’s
award-winning systems approach to methodologies that achieve operational
excellence. For more than 25 years, MPS has served as the backbone of our
manufacturing process, delivering positive business results and quality
Case for Milliken Performance System
a systems-based methodology that builds capabilities, drives cost
competitiveness, and supports aligned growth with the company, MPS brings our operational
excellence to life by embracing leadership and problem solving in pursuit of
sustainable organizational growth.
Cara Thompson, Director, Corporate MPS, operational excellence offers a range
of benefits to both customers and associates. “Operational excellence enhances
our reputation beyond supplying quality products,” Cara shared. “Internally,
our operational excellence culture creates safer and more efficient manufacturing
work environments where all associates can engage in process improvement and
contribute to Milliken’s success.”
was built on the foundation of Milliken’s safety and quality revolution in the 1980s
and 1990s. Milliken began prioritizing safety and quality in every aspect of
the business and developed a leading reputation for excellence, supported by
OSHA VPP-certified manufacturing facilities and winning the coveted Malcolm
Baldridge National Quality Award.
this momentum, Milliken embarked on its operational excellence journey in 1994 with
trips to Japan to benchmark and study Japanese manufacturing methods. What we
witnessed provided Milliken with systematic methodologies to eliminate various
types of losses within our plants, expanding our definition of what excellence
looked like in a manufacturing setting.
stay relevant in a changing market, however, we know that we must evolve
ourselves. It is with this spirit of continuous learning and continuous growth,
that we take our next step in refreshing and revitalizing MPS to once again
expand the boundaries of what innovative manufacturing can accomplish. With
this, this year we modernized MPS to drive us to new levels of operational excellence.
Methodologies Tailored to Achieve Operational Excellence
maintains the same core foundation, but the refreshed MPS takes a customized approach.
Each methodology in the MPS infographic is a lever designed to address specific losses—locked potential that can be delivered back to a business by improving the manufacturing
These levers can
be used individually or in combination, so each Milliken plant designs their
approach to best achieve specific business goals.
we originally built MPS, we required all plants to deploy all methodologies,
which drove deep process understanding,” Cara noted. Manufacturing built the
system from the ground up. “Our MPS strategy now is to leverage practicality to
achieve operational excellence. This enables our divisions to deploy the right
combination of methodologies to achieve specific performance objectives.”
revitalized MPS moves from a simultaneous deployment of methodologies to custom
deployment plans, and the result empowers Milliken associates to make changes
and improvements that are strategically important to their unique business.
“Our aspiration is for the organization to pull on the right method at the
right time to drive results,” shared Cara. “Plant teams are empowered to
leverage MPS methodologies based on their current situation. This approach
allows plants to prioritize their resources to achieve the greatest impact.”
as no athlete has the same training program, the revitalized MPS encourages our
manufacturing teams around the world to think differently about deploying operational
Cara explains, “Our operating system is a framework that is built and improved
over time based on MPS improvement methodologies. As we grow and learn, we
apply those takeaways to new situations.
truly emphasizes a plant’s ability to harness their unique momentum, capitalize
on engaged associate culture, and expand their individual definition of
excellence. Within the MPS framework, we hope to unlock and realize untapped
potential as we achieve greater impact.”