No matter how good your customers say you are or how well you deliver on-time, there is always room for improvement. In order to fill that desire for continuous improvement, late last month, the employees at Mold Craft underwent hands-on 5S training. That’s right, the entire company was invited to participate and learn continuous improvement/efficiency techniques. 5S stands for the terms; sort, shine, set in order, standardize, and sustain. This is a methodology to increase efficiency in one’s workspace by keep things close at hand in an organized fashion.
Mold Craft was awarded grant money from the MJSP grant foundation and put it towards training their employees with the 5S training. Mold Craft brought in Mark & Mary Kay who are Continuous Improvement Specialist at Lean Processes, LLC (the hosts of the 5S training session). During Phase 1, Mark and his team spent a week working with small groups of employees at Mold Craft not only teaching them the 5S concepts, but also doing hands on simulation of a production setting building Lego robots. During Phase 2, they walked the shop and pointed out ways that Mold Craft could improve efficiency in real time. Operations Supervisor Todd Larson said, “It was amazing to see the changes and really see how simple it is to be more efficient.”
In Phase 1 the company separated into 4 groups with Lean Processes, LLC working with one group at a time. Some of the key concepts that employees learned were the 5S principles plus they learned about the 8 Wastes with an acronym of (DOWNTIME) which are defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized resources, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra processing. They also learned about concepts such as TAKT time vs. Cycle time and the value of balancing time, space, and materials. “Mark and his team were fantastic with the entire staff. The concepts we learned were not only relevant to our work lives but many of the concepts bled over into our personal lives as well”, said Todd Larson when asked about his experience with Lean Processes, LLC.
The employees loved their experience with Mark and his team. When asked what the employee feedback was, Todd said, “It was all positive. The employees really learned a lot from Mark and his team and they really appreciated the hands-on teaching style and enthusiasm that they brought.” Todd went on to explain that this ended up serving a dual purpose as it ended up being a team building event. The random groups were made up of people who often do not spend much time with each other. It created a situation where coworkers who don’t normally interact with each other had to work together and as a result it brought the team closer together.
As a part of Phase 2, Mold Craft spent an additional week to plan and execute a Kaizen event and has rearranged some work stations and made some small investments to enhance efficiency. Part of the program includes two follow up visits, one at 30 days and the other at 90 days so that Lean Process, LLC can track the progress Mold Craft is making as well as offer any additional solutions. This program brought operational efficiency and team building to Mold Craft. Mold Craft will certainly continue to pursue opportunities like this in the future.