How the Process Informs the Practice

The Milliken & Company Path to Manufacturing Excellence & Success

Bringing a world-class quality and safety to global organizations doesn’t come easily. In the case of Spartanburg, SC-based Milliken & Company, it was a decades-long journey that culminated in it winning both the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award and the Japanese TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) Excellence Award. Milliken is one of the few companies in the world to have won both awards.

In 2007, Milliken launched the Performance Solutions by Milliken business to assist other companies in improving quality and safety. By taking advantage of the Milliken Performance System (MPS), companies are able to compress their learning curve and leverage Milliken’s people and expertise to drive rapid results. Executives who have begun to implement MPS estimate that partnering with Performance Solutions by Milliken has cut as much as two years out of their learning curve.

Performance Solutions is proud to offer foundational elements including The Milliken Safety Way, which accelerates companies on the path to long-term, sustainable and holistic success. MPS incorporates a daily management system that enhances the benefits of conventional Lean and Six Sigma programs by providing a more comprehensive approach. This leads to dramatic breakthroughs in cost reduction, higher morale, increased customer satisfaction, and a cleaner, safer environment.

Today, Performance Solutions by Milliken works with companies on their operational excellence and safety journeys in over 28 countries around the world, all with local language capability. Our client list covers every spectrum of manufacturing from underground ore mining to processing the food on dinner tables, from electrical components to the airplanes depending on them, from chemicals used in plastics to the tires on your car, and everything in between.

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The Nine Pillars of the Milliken Performance System

The Milliken Performance System is supported by a unique system, comprised of nine pillars which build our business and our client’s businesses into lean enterprises. These nine pillars are the key to moving your organization towards long-term, sustainable growth.

The Nine Pillars of the Milliken Performance System


Daily Team Maintenance provides operators with the knowledge and skills required to proactively prevent breakdowns and off-quality caused by accelerated equipment deterioration and abnormalities. DTM results in improved reliability and stability—specifically a reduction of minor stops, breakdowns, and changeover time.


The 5S process organizes and maintains the workplace environment in order to increase productivity and safety, reduce waste, and eliminate non-value-added activities for all associates. This process establishes the expectations of discipline and overall engagement in the organization.


This standardized training process ensures that all associates are doing the right things, the right way, every time. By modeling key areas, organizations experience a decrease in process variation, turnover, and overall training spend.


Focused Improvement projects follow methodology to provide a logical thinking process that identifies root causes of opportunities in order to reduce or even eliminate losses. These projects generate funding while improving the capability of processes.


The goals of production control are to reduce overall system cost by eliminating system waste and aligning the business offering with manufacturing execution. Production control improves working capital and inventory, variable conversion cost, capacity utilization, and more.


For reliability and continuous improvement, a combination of preventive, predictive, and zero failure activities is necessary. Maintenance technicians and leadership and engineers oversee maintenance schedule to address problems before they occur.


This systematic methodology helps achieve zero quality defects by seeking out, identifying, and eliminating the root causes of all defects. QM takes organizational processes beyond reliability to capability.


Early Equipment Management focuses on improved reliability and stability by “designing out” losses related to equipment startup before they occur. Utilizing existing measurement data operators, technicians, and others use a process of implementation and equipment modeling to reduce startup time and costs.


Concurrent New Product Development uses a methodology that brings together all the necessary functions at the appropriate time to effectively plan, develop, and manufacture new products that (1) satisfy customer requirements and (2) meet internal measures of success.

Performance Solutions by Milliken