Lean Management at Mounting Systems | About

November 14, 2019

“Giving and receiving feedback: Seeing, seizing and using as an opportunity” is how our partner, the Nordwest Industrie Group, lists its ten values in fourth place.  But what is the best way to give this feedback? And how do you motivate your employees to see process slowdowns independently and pass them on to management?

The answer to this is provided by the Lean & Kaizen process, which is particularly highlighted at NWI and is being used more and more in many areas. A process that aims to manifest an efficient design of the entire value chain with the help of certain methods, thought patterns and systems.

Starting at Mounting Systems a few years ago, we have been implementing more and more processes using the Lean & Kaizen method in recent years. Read on to know more about the steps that we have been using to have a lean business.

The introduction of lean structures

The right, meaningful implementation of Lean and Kaizen issues is a development that Mounting Systems had to go step by step. Especially at the beginning of the structural change a rethinking was required, which did not always meet with positive criticism. The change and the introduction of new structures is always connected with a throw-over of the old ones.

Nevertheless, the measures to promote the working climate are obvious:

The individual’s responsibility is emphasised within lean structures, communication and teamwork are put in the foreground, and each individual is slowly developing an awareness of the need to independently report process-slowing disruptions. Finally, the employees should get used to the new work organization and notice that their suggestions are taken seriously. Management and employees are communicating at eye level.

Because in the best possible case this Lean promotion runs through the entire company, it is also important not to ignore production, but to include it. The spatial separation between production and office creates longer communication channels, which should be dissolved.

This is precisely why we at Mounting Systems recently installed a shop floor point at which production employees can meet daily for meetings and visualize their processes. Directly at the scene. Directly in production. In order to guarantee this, we have realized the point soundproof. While there is a high volume outside in the production, we were able to create an acceptable volume inside the point. This creates a pleasant atmosphere at the daily meetings and promotes the mutual exchange. As a contact point for employees and management, the implementation of Lean in our production is made much easier in this way.

We also encouraged the creation of lean teams for the logistics and office areas and trained them accordingly. Two of our employees also received several days of training in Lean & Kaizen and are now supporting us with their newly acquired knowledge. In weekly meetings, the teams discuss their next steps and jointly develop concepts.

Another concrete measure that has taken place at Mounting Systems is the exchange of the wheels of the so-called “dogs”. Through observation and consultation, it was determined that the previous wheels were worn out and showed a high resistance. So, to move materials around in the production two or three coworkers has to help out. The introduction of this new roller or “dog”, which has a load capacity of 900kg, now allows only one employee to move the materials around. Small details that facilitate the entire workflow.

In addition, a few months ago, our compass room was revitalised to encourage consultation between the individual teams. Future goals, planned actions and a visualisation of which processes have gone well and which have not, can thus be bundled centrally in one place. If there is interest, one of our employees can also inquire about the processes of the other teams and thus get an overview of the direction Mounting Systems will take in the future. Since each employee enters their tasks independently or in consultation with their team, our Compass Room also contributes to promoting the independent work of the individual. A joint responsibility and joint leadership evolve.

In recent months, we have been able to agree on standardized key figures for our production and logistics, which will in future also be displayed on flat screens in the outgoing goods area and in the shop floor point. For example, every employee can see how many kilograms were produced per hour. In addition to this structuring, a check of the individual workstations also took place in our office area. With questions such as: “Is there enough storage space at the workplace?” and “Is the employee given the best possible opportunity to work in his or her place?” we looked around our office and acted accordingly to promote a positive answer to both questions.

Summary

Changes in production and in the agreement between management and employees will result in improved dynamics at Mounting Systems, which will be further expanded in the coming years and thus contribute to an ideal operating procedure. The positive characteristics of Lean & Kaizen are already noticeable and improve the work of our employees on a daily basis. Mounting Systems has not regretted these innovations, which were introduced in the name of Lean Management, and would like to continue to improve in this respect in the future and not tolerate any standstill.

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