The primary focus was on raising the awareness of the seven wastes within the manufacturing teams, improving the workplace organisation and mapping the manufacturing processes to identify delays and waste using the technique of value stream mapping.
The business embarked on a lean awareness training exercise with the help of Lean Practitioner, Graham Canning.
All employees were trained in basic lean principles and took this new found knowledge onto the shop floor where they immediately started identifying opportunities for eliminating waste. A smaller team of shop floor, management and office staff worked with Graham to value stream map the current processes and create a future ideal state.
To arrive at a current state map, the team spent a two-day workshop mapping out the current material and information flows. This built their joint understanding of how work moves through the process, and identified clear delays and wastes.
A further two-day workshop was arranged to detail the future state map, during which opportunities for waste elimination were identified. A new value stream map and ‘spaghetti diagram’ were constructed to show the benefits of the improvements.
An Action Plan was generated to capture the improvement opportunities, and assign responsibilities.
The client has implemented a number of improvement initiatives, which have resulted in the elimination of double handling throughout the process and a productivity benefit of £50,000 per year. Cost savings were achieved by reducing inventory by 10%, and the lead time of one product line was reduced by 15 days, delivering improved customer service levels.
The overall travel distance of a major production line has been reduced by 80%, creating further cost savings. There is now a real cultural change in the business with all employees participating in Kaizen programmes and 15 small teams formed to work on productivity improvement, customer satisfaction and shop floor layout.