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CI Team Drives Process Improvements Across the IWCO Direct Platform

Meg Hanaman

The IWCO Direct Continuous Improvement (CI) team has had a busy year engaging in more than 100 projects. We’ve worked with our operations partners to streamline process improvements, reduce waste, and enhance quality through new training and employee engagement initiatives. Projects we’ve tackled this year include:

Streamlining Processes

  • Innovation Initiative: Our team is providing project management support for three work-streams with participants from across the company to drive cost and process innovations for IWCO Direct and our clients. This initiative focuses on developing new, creative ways of engaging with our clients, our partners, and our internal teams. The OEM team is working on new ways to engage our equipment manufacturers, the Servicing and Solutions team is working on creative ways to provide new opportunities for our clients, and the Strategic Partners team is focused on innovative ways to engage our vendors and outsourcing partners to expand our offerings.
  • Strategic Roadmaps: We partnered with nine internal teams to develop two-year roadmaps to help drive innovation and improvements. This multi-phase approach includes goal setting across a variety of efforts including safety, culture, production and team building. The teams have made great headway in attaining their milestones and continue to meet on a monthly basis to share progress and results.
  • Variable production goals in our Hamburg lettershop: We implemented new cycle rates and goals for inserting and bindery. These new benchmarks increased overall production goal achievement rate by 50% and increased the overall pieces produced per shift by an average of 20,000 in each area.

Reducing Waste

  • Sample Reprint Reduction: We helped the Hamburg lettershop team to identify the primary causes for needing sample reprints. The team implemented a “just what you need” quantity and a new sample sequencing system that reduced sample reprints by 60%.
  • Spoilage Reduction: We worked with the Chanhassen DOD and Bindery teams to identify the top reasons for spoilage and to drive reductions in waste.

Enhancing Quality

  • “eProofing” Kaizen: This Kaizen event guided the effort to move from hard copies to electronic versions of internal proofs. Through it, we engaged all departments that touch proofs. Implementation was fast tracked due to COVID-19 and completed in record time, greatly streamlining workflow for associates working remotely during the pandemic.
  • Mistake Proofing Training: We developed internal training to guide leaders through the mistake proofing process, enabling them to bring this concept and tools to their teams to focused on the identification and elimination of risk.
  • Problem Solving Training: More than 30 projects were implemented by participants in classes on problem solving methodologies led by the CI team. The projects addressed reducing reliance on technicians by implementing troubleshooting guides for machine operators and reducing rack scanning issues that resulted in a 50% reduction in pallets not being found in the correct rack location.

As we look forward to 2021, we will continue to build CI and Lean Manufacturing tools into our ongoing daily operations to ensure our improvement efforts are truly continuous. Our plans for 2021 include:

  • Advancing our support for Steel Business System (SBS) initiatives (many noted below).
  • Continued support of our Innovation, 80/20 and Strategic Planning Initiatives.
  • Quarterly deployment of the following:
    • Performing 5S (Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain) production floor layout and audit sheet updates;
    • Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) event to reduce the time it takes to changeover machinery
    • Problem solving training across all facilities;
    • Enhancing our Daily Lean Management System with efforts focused on Safety, Quality, Delivery, Inventory, Productivity (+QDIP), Triage Walks/Meetings, and Accountability boards.

We’re excited about using our CI toolbox to find ways to provide even better products and services for our clients while driving even faster speed to market in 2021. Want to learn more about our approach to CI and problem solving? Contact me here.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2020/12/16/2020-process-improvements/
Meg Hanaman

Author

Meg Hanaman

Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement with an MBA from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. Believes that progress, not perfection, is the sign of a great team—including at IWCO Direct, where the favorite part of her job has been the people she’s worked with for more than five years. Outside of overseeing CI initiatives, she dedicates her time to two different types of Mixed Martial Arts, and cheering on both the Gophers and the Packers (life ain’t easy for a Minne-sconsin fan).

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