Mueller Company 
Intermediate level
Value Stream 6 Achieving Business Results

Achieving breakthrough results using lean as a competitive weapon

Utilizing daily management and coaching techniques
Wednesday, Oct. 26 Location Code
2:15pm-3:15pm Dallas Ballroom D, 1st floor WP/36

Hear about Mueller Company’s flagship plant, a truly self-contained value steam from raw material to finished goods, and how it has committed to being a domestic manufacturer. Discover how lean tells you to take complex problems and break them into smaller, simpler ones.


Suffering with a downtime rate of six hours each day, the Mueller Company kept looking for the "silver bullet" to turn things around. Hear how it used value steam mapping to give a high level understanding of its process inputs and outputs. Learn how the transformation plan aligned resources, goals and focus and how floor leadership became the standard. The hour-by-hour count board became the catalyst to making problems obvious. The coaching kata process was added to input and output processes with the goal to improve yield loss and efficiency. Coaching sessions were held twice daily to achieve accountability and quick problem resolution. Gain insights into how everything culminated when the team achieved its breakthrough goal. Overtime plummeted, yield loss improved by 73 percent, and lead time has been reduced from seven to two days. Hear how this effort improved manufacturing variances by $1M for two months in row - no capital utilized, just lots of gemba-focused hard work.


The Mueller Company is North America's largest and only full-line supplier of potable water distribution products. Its products are used throughout the water system from source to customer. Since 1857, the Mueller name has been known for innovative water distribution products of superior quality. The company catalogs thousands of items to suit the needs of virtually any water system application and for use with any water main or service line pipe material. Mueller® Water Distribution Products are available through authorized Mueller stocking distributors in all parts of the United States and are sold around the world through qualified representatives.

Presenters: Thomas Castillo / Hans Sowrey

Thomas Castillo is director of operational excellence leading Mueller Company’s lean transformation. He was first exposed to lean and six sigma concepts at Ecolab in 1999 while working as a production engineer. He further developed a lean and six sigma skill set at Lam Research as a manufacturing and design engineer.  He also worked at Acuity Brands Lighting for six years as a lean deployment leader. Castillo served as a United States Army Signal Officer from 1990-1998. He graduated from Stanford University with a mechanical engineering degree in 1990.

Hans Sowrey is operations leader with the Mueller Company. He has been a part of the Mueller organization for 20 years, holding departmental leadership positions through each value added process at the Chattanooga, TN facility, driving process improvement and lean principles. Sowrey holds an AS in automated manufacturing and a BS in organizational leadership.