Making Continuous Improvement Simpler While Making Work Easier

Posted by Tom McDevitt on Jul 12, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The Rose Corporation was fortunate to host a recent Lean Thinking Network meeting.  To my recollection, this was the best-attended meeting ever, and with 25 team members, representing nine separate companies it provided ample feedback to The Rose regarding our successes and failures with Lean implementation.  Moreover, all but two guests stayed for lunch and the afternoon training session titled “Reinvigorating a Stale Process; Making Continuous Improvement Simpler While Making Work Easier”.  The host company has the option to request the training topic so The Rose asked Dwight Bowen to focus and train on what things a company can do to keep its continuous improvement (CI) efforts effective, meaningful and on target.

Rose’s portion of the meeting centered on current Lean implementation activities.  A PowerPoint presentation took our guests through the many aspects of The Rose’s CI program and, complete with many photos of 2012 kaizen projects, the presentation provided many examples of our coworker’s successful use of the kaizen process here at The Rose.  The discussion was open and honest regarding what we have done with Lean and what we know we need to do better.  There is no point trying to pretend we are doing more than we actually are because the Lean Network meeting process, with the requisite “Go See” shop tours and post-tour review session provides what often times feels brutal for the honest, constructive feedback provided to the host company.  So why bother trying to pretend effort or success with Lean implementation because our guests will unquestionably call us on it.

There were many first-time guests at this meeting, visiting The Rose for the first time; however there were other guests participating in the meeting who have been here numerous times.  Some of the feedback comments reflect observations made by the first-timers and veteran guests to The Rose.  The following is a catalogue of these observations.

Likes Opportunities
Color Coding used in Machine Shop to identify machine centers

Floors in Machine Shop need repair 

Use of racks throughout facilities, e.g. ladder racks, inventory racks, etc.
Add additional Emergency Power illuminated Exit signs to all doors
Use of Water Marks ("Does This Area Look Like This") at various common work areas
Consider using Ergonomic Mats where ever possible, e.g. machine operator areas
Organized and secure gas bottle storage racks and areas
Observed a machine operator wearing a wrist watch, a non-standard best practice of machine operators
Use of Water Marks ("Does This Area Look Like This") at various common work areas
Replace black bags currently used for the first aid supplies with bright colored bags
6-S visuals, e.g. water marks, targets, floor aisles, etc.
Complete light upgrade project
Posted metrics in all shops
Turn the lights on at each Shop Metric board, and replace green corrogated siding with some transparent material
"All of the above"
Improve labeling on inventory items
Color Coding in Machine Shop, Kent Bldg., and Fab Shop
Install some audible device on overhead cranes that announces crane's operation, e.g. bell, horn, siren
Color Coding in shops
Make eye wash stations more prominent and noticeable
New project in Machine Shop connecting the large machine centers to the job queue holding areas in Cedar and Green
Color code cardboard recycling containers and metal scrap bins
Ladder racks
why do machine operators leave the machine centers to get the next job?  Why not another coworker?
Yearly 6-S awards
Improve markings and signs for drop-down extension cords and shop air supply lines
Marking with job # on parts for Work In Process
Warmer buildings
"Nothing to add that hasn't already been said"
Uneven floor in King Bay
"Nothing to add that hasn't already been said"
Replace gray hardhats with bright colored hardhats, and require coworkers to wear bright colored clothing or provide bright colored vest to all coworkers
Schedule board in Fab office
Install signs identifying various buildings and areas withing bldgs., e.g. "Kent Building", "First Bay", etc.
Use of towmotors, specialized trailers, specialized material handeling containers for moving product through the value stream
More kanban, less perpetual inventory
"Nothing to add that hasn't already been said"
Replace gray hardhats with bright colored hardhats, and require coworkers to wear bright colored clothing or provide bright colored vest to all coworkers
Inventory and Ladder racks
Uneven flooring in some areas
Increase in level of organization throughout all buildings
Metal chips should be removed many times through each shift to avoid build up inside machine ways, screws, etc.
Well marked and available fire extinguishers
Install emergency lighting
Increased orgainzation in all shops and the very obvious increase in useable space
Double check posted metrics are the right ones for our business just to verify we're not measuring without purpose

The Safety-6 Team will review each of these excellent suggestions at our next Safety-6 Team meeting.  We will prioritize the items where immediate value is recognized, sort out some suggestions that, at this time, do not make sense, and develop an implementation plan for those suggestions that clearly have immediate value for The Rose.  Clearly just by hosting The Lean Network process The Rose is fulfilling our own cultural drive to continually improve ourselves.

The Rose Corporation is a Pennsylvania-based, WBENC-certified small business specializing in the manufacture of custom industrial fabrication, large-scale precision weldments, power generation equipment (including repairs), and more. The Rose Corporation’s most unique strength is our experience with delivery of specialized design expertise, along with an ability to help customers optimize manufacturability, reduce costs, and improve overall product quality.