IWCO Direct’s Lean Journey continues as we strive to become more efficient for our customers. It’s been a busy year; so active in fact, that we haven’t written about our progress in a while. When we left off, our Lean efforts had shifted to Hamburg and were quickly showing positive results. Today we highlight the additional progress we’ve made at all our facilities this year.
Hamburg Reduces Set-Up Time
We have continued to ramp up our Lean initiatives in our Hamburg, PA facilities. Creating standards and applying the Lean tool of 5S has produced clear progress, primarily in the print division where we have conducted several set-up reduction events on the litho and flexo equipment. Lean Kaizen events branched into the maintenance, prepress, purchasing and warehouse departments as well. Encouraging these production support teams to think in a Lean fashion, and understand the needs of each department and how they operate, has helped create better cohesion and efficiency.
Little Falls Standardizes Package Jobs
One of our biggest successes in our Little Falls, MN facility was developing a work cell approach to streamline multiple package and small package jobs, which had a tendency to create production bottlenecks. The team developed the idea of designating specific machines for specialty small package jobs. Machine operators participated in training to learn how to produce these types of jobs in a standardized manner. Trainers were empowered to complete machine approvals to further reduce lost production time.
In order to eliminate errors when multiple package jobs are produced at one machine, a standardized process was developed to identify multiple package jobs and the materials necessary to complete them. The team created Standard Work for multiple packages and designed new tray tags for carts to serve as a visual cue of multiple package jobs. They also standardized the process for completing quality assurance checks when working with multiple package jobs.
Chanhassen Revises Standard Work
The primary focus on our Chanhassen, MN campus is to sustain the high production standards we have established over the past year and a half. One key aspect of Lean is a commitment to continuous improvement, so it’s important we don’t rest on our laurels. With that in in mind, teams have begun an auditing process to revisit and revise Standard Work to further improve our processes.
We hope you enjoyed learning about some of our Lean achievements in 2012, which have allowed us to decrease production time, optimize our workflow and most importantly, respond to customer needs more quickly. Please check back in on Wednesday, where we’ll look ahead to our plans for 2013.
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