During the week of January 29th, Norbar held their second Rapid Continuous Improvement (RCI) event.

Once again, this involved 4 cross functional teams, each given a set of objectives to resolve and improve key processes across the product range.

 

Team A – Multiplier Set Up Reduction

Reduce changeover time from last machined part to first part of the next batch.

 

Team B – Electronics Production Trucheck Process

                 Improve the Trucheck process from order entry to Despatch

 

Team C – TW Manufacturing

Improve flow of tubes through TW Manufacturing to remove bottle necks and meet customer requirements.

 

Team D – Despatch

Reorganise Despatch area to utilise the space available to provide the agility to meet increased customer demand.

 

We were again privileged to be guided by Sensei Takahashi, President and CEO of the company Shingijutsu who are global leaders in operational process improvement and elimination of waste (time, materials and manpower). They were started in 1987 by some of the pioneers of the successful Toyota Production System.

 

Shingijutsu teach not in the classroom but from the Genba (work area). They force you to question the way you have always done things.

 

Successful process improvement begins with changing the way you think.

 

Each team was again supported by the addition of Snap-on personnel who are each experienced in Kaizen events.

We also welcomed Karen Hantke from Norbar Australia and James Kruger, Norbar USA who were part of the Despatch and TW Manufacturing teams as we begin to roll RCI out to the other Norbar companies.

 

As each team tackled their objectives, Sensei Takahashi would pay regular visits to each team’s Genba to offer advice on the tools and techniques that would help capture the data required to firstly provide a baseline and then how best to identify improvements.

 

So, how did we get on?

Team A – Of the 2 set-ups investigated, reductions of 2.49 and 2.18 hours were achieved and 67 process steps were externalised giving us a 45% reduction of set up time.

 

Team B – Assembly time of the Trucheck reduced by 40% with a 48% reduction of overall cycle time.

 

Team C – In TW Manufacturing, total walking distance was reduced by 38Km. The shot peen process was reduced by 7 seconds per tube, saving 140 hours per year.

A reduction in the painting time saved 14 seconds per tube with potential savings of £56,914 per annum.

 

Team D – Reorganisation of Despatch created of an increased floor space of 9%.

The target improvement to increase shipping capacity by 25% has resulted in the team offering the following statement ‘we’ve set the scene, now just give us the stock’

 

In addition to the process objectives, each team had a target of 5 or more 6S improvements which have resulted in new tool boards, improved racking and storage, clear area markings and signage. This has provided an opportunity to improve the working environment and any H&S issues.

 

So, all in all, it proved to be another successful week. Each team now has a list of ongoing improvements that will be fed down and communicated to others within the process.

We have our 3rd RCI event booked for July when another 4 teams will kaizen 4 more process improvements. This will go some way to achieve our objective of having 30% of our workforce participating in at least 1 kaizen event before the year end.

 

One participant from the January RCI commented “That was the best week that I have ever spent at Norbar.” That I believe, comes from having a real sense of achievement through being part of a team that can make a difference.