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Celebrating the Fruits of Our Labor: Update on Continuous Improvement Efforts

Patrick Sondreal

Let me be the first to wish everyone a happy Labor Day weekend. Did you know the first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882, or that the day is intended to recognize the contributions workers make to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country? Before we all head out for a long, relaxing weekend, we wanted to briefly celebrate the fruits of our labor at IWCO Direct, and more specifically, the impact of our Continuous Improvement efforts across our facilities.

If you’ve been following our articles about Lean, you know we’ve put a lot of thought and resources into these efforts. But Lean is just part of our Continuous Improvement story. We’ve expanded the team to ensure a focus on Continuous Improvement at all facilities. We’ve also improved data collection, analysis and communication to facilitate early identification of issues, find solutions and monitor them to ensure sustained results.

A recent example of this process in action was the work at our Hamburg, PA facility to create a Material Movement initiative, which established a clear system of when to order materials and when to expect those materials to arrive at the machine needing them. By establishing these guidelines, we’ve seen a 100% increase in on-time delivery of ordered materials and a 33% decrease in rush orders. Daily metrics are posted and reviewed, and employees look forward to seeing how they performed each day.

Of course, as the name implies, there is no finish line to Continuous Improvement. We are always integrating quality and process improvements into our day-to-day work. This requires regularly communicating results to share the big picture as well as examples specific to each area.

Looking ahead, future initiatives will focus on continued defect reduction, reduced downtime, standardization (both at single locations and across our platform) and culture enhancements. We are also involving clients in the conversation to determine best practices for delivering information to us—since they are a key player in the process. Our mantra is, “Create no defects, pass no defects, accept no defects.”

So before we head out for a long weekend, I wanted to congratulate our team members who have worked so hard to make Continuous Improvement a success and enhance our work for our customers.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2015/09/04/continous-improvement-updates-at-iwco-direct/
Patrick Sondreal


Patrick Sondreal

SVP Operations & Customer Experience. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Commissioned officer of the U.S. Navy who brings a commitment to teamwork and continuous improvement to IWCO Direct every day. Wisconsin Badger fan who loves being part of his kids’ activities.

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