Lean is an improvement approach to improve flow and eliminate waste. Simply.. it means creating more value for customers with fewer resources
Throughout 2013 and 2014, REL have been introducing the LEAN methodology to the Workplace in a phased Plan.
There were 2 elements to the project -
1. Workplace Organization and Layout Change
2. Management Coaching Programme
“Workplace Organization” or 5S
is the foundation of continuous improvement and as well as creating an ordered workplace which should appeal to prospective customers, is a starting point for cultural change via employee involvement, empowerment and effective communication. The goal of the business should be to have areas embark on 5S and for it become a common language to all employees.
5S was implemented in the operational area, engaging all the employees from the very first stages known as “Sort” or Red Tagging Exercise (basically identifying and actioning anything that either wasn’t needed or was located in the wrong place) to developing the flow of work, the organisation of space, tooling and equipment and the routines for maintenance of housekeeping standards.
As part of the above, a revised layout was designed and implemented giving clear definitions to the different areas within the operation, a logical flow for material and complementing the current value streams and planning for the new opportunities within the refurbishment part of the business.
“Management Coaching programme” started by facilitating Senior Management in a focused review of the existing Production Supervisor’s and Materials Supervisor’s role definition and the required changes to develop a suitable role definition appropriate to fostering an environment of increased responsibility and accountability in the operational part of the business. These new role definitions included objectives, performance measures, reporting structures, responsibilities, behaviours and ways of working; which provide a platform for effective management of the Operational disciplines across the organisation.
What was the impact for the Company?
A number of key benefits have been realised.
Thanks to the 5S Workplace Organization programme, overall production efficiency is up by 8%, a safer, more pleasant workplace has been created and due to the radical de-cluttering of the area, on-time delivery has risen with “On Time In Full” (OTIF) levels improving from 89% to 95%. The firm’s production facility is now a strong selling point to their customers and morale and team-working has improved. Added to that, the staff are now generating ideas for further improvement in the areas via the audit programme and 5S activity in other areas of the business have already commenced.
Thanks to the Coaching programme, the recipients are aware of what the company expects of their roles and are more efficient in how they carry out their roles, including having different methodologies that they can employ depending on the task they need to carry out.
This is a continuous programme throughout the Company where improvements to processes, practices and morale will be of overall benefit to REL as a Company, and to their customers who will see a higher level of Service to even that they have come to expect.