Getting the whole team to embrace Lean working

It’s been a theme that’s popped up in most of my posts so far, so I wanted to elaborate on it.  We have quickly come to realise that the most important part of any Lean environment is The Team.  As business owners, we could spend a lot of time researching and implementing various Lean techniques, but if our staff aren’t on board, we’d constantly be hitting a brick wall.  For any of these Lean techniques to make a difference in our factory, we know it is imperative that everyone is 100% on board and invested in the journey.

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Using a Kanban board to help us get Lean

To manage our work load, we have been using scheduling software.  Whilst it is a fantastic tool for showing us our capacity, we do find that it had its limitations.  For one, it doesn’t allow for any external factors which might affect the run time of a job.  No job is ever that cut and dry so it’s a case of constantly going back into the system and updating it.  We also found, as many of us do, that technology can sometimes be unreliable.  I wasted many hours trying to get through to the right person to regain access to my account after it had decided to reset itself over the New Year!  So, in the interests of our Lean journey and keeping things as simple as possible, we decided that a Kanban board might be worth looking at as a way to help us manage our workflow. 

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8 Wastes

The 8 Wastes of Lean- what does that mean?

We’ve finished our big 3S sort out but we’re very conscious that having super organised shelving is only one part of the bigger Lean picture.  So we can’t just stop here!  3s has helped us set the foundations in the assembly department but now it’s time to start building on them.  It’s put us in a good position to start evaluating our processes but before that, we need to be really aware of what factors might be affecting our ability to operate at our full potential.  And that is where recognising The 8 Wastes of Lean can help us.

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3S – Sweep, Sort, Standardise

Back in January we made our big announcement about ‘Going Lean in 2017!’ but then we were faced with the dilemma of where to actually start! We’ve got a factory incorporating offices, machine shop and an assembly department and standing out there on day one, I’ll admit, left us feeling pretty overwhelmed! So we went to the drawing board to review the various LEAN techniques that we were keen to have a look at this year. 3S jumped out at us- short and sweet! And we decided to start out in the assembly department.

But what does 3S actually mean?

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Lean ’17!

Happy New Year and welcome to our brand new blog!

At Stokes & Rowe, we produce products to a very high quality and are pretty organized but believe that there is always room for improvement. So we have decided that the focus this year shouldn’t just be about increasing our customer base, productivity and profits. Our mission for 2017 is to become a Lean company and create a wonderful place to work by growing ourselves and our staff into Lean problem solvers. We’re applying Lean to many of our processes already but we want it to be at the heart and soul of everything we do and aim to create a totally Lean culture by the end of this year. And that is how ‘Lean ’17’ was born!

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