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Lean Manufacturing: Cut Time, Materials, Motion
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Lean Manufacturing, Work Culture

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 17, 2014

By Howe Wallace, CEO, President and Chairman of the Board, PalletOne

Being lean means making it a way of life, the lens you constantly look through. Under a ‘lean lens’ everything gets inspected. At PalletOne, we spend a lot of time in reinforcing the lean thought process. We talk to employees about what they’re doing and ask them how to be more efficient. Our goal is to reduce wasted time, materials and motion. In any pallet operation there is waste, but it could be more than necessary. You have to work hard to identify the wastes and act to eliminate them.

Time issues are crucial in a lean operation. We removed tools to help with time issues. Tool boards were put up with an outline of the tools so we knew which tools were in use. Employees used to spend so much time looking for their tools that operations weren’t as efficient as they could be. We instituted these tool boards to help. A visual check would quickly identify which tools were in use or what was missing. Then you can identify the situation and resolve it.

A key to staying lean is working hard to establish that culture – that state of mind - with your employees and then maintaining it. Educating employees is so important. Efforts such as training videos or seminars can help, but those efforts have a life. You’ve got to continue to train your staff, new staff when added, and re-enforcing lean concepts.

We are going into our fourth year as lean. We’ve got a lot more to learn to be more sophisticated. For 2014, we’ll continue to empower our employees to do more, to want to do more. We don’t want to stand over our employees and supervise every move. At PalletOne, management is entrusting our employees with their tools, equipment and then holding them accountable. It’s working so far.

As we get more people to ‘think lean’ and knocking ideas out, we’ll continue to grow.

Tags:  employees  labor  lean  management  manufacturing 

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