Lean Management at Mounting Systems
"Give and accept feedback: See it as an opportunity, take it up and use it" is listed by our partner, the Nordwest Industrie Group, in fourth place among its ten values. But what is the best way to give this feedback? And how do you motivate your employees to independently identify process slowdowns and pass them on to management?
The answer to this is provided by the Lean & Kaizen process, which is particularly emphasized at the 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 a few years ago at Mounting Systems, we have been implementing more and more processes according to the Lean & Kaizen method in recent years. Exactly these steps, which bring us further and further in the direction of Lean Management, we want to highlight in the following text.
The introduction of lean structures
The correct, meaningful implementation of Lean and Kaizen topics, is a development that Mounting Systems had to advance step by step. Especially at the beginning of the structural change, a rethinking was required, which was not always met with positive criticism. The change and the introduction of new structures is always connected with an overthrow of the old ones.
Nevertheless, the measures that promote a working atmosphere are obvious: the responsibility of the individual is emphasized within lean structures, communication and teamwork are given priority, and each individual slowly develops an awareness of independently reporting disruptions that slow down processes. Employees should eventually get used to the new work organization and realize that their suggestions are taken seriously. Networking between management and employees takes place at eye level.
Because this lean promotion runs through the entire company in the best possible case, it is also important not to leave out production, but to include it in particular. The spatial separation that keeps production and office apart creates longer communication paths that should be resolved.
That's exactly why we at Mounting Systems recently installed a Shopfloor Point where production staff can meet daily for meetings and visualize their processes. Directly at the scene of the action. Directly in production. To ensure this, we made the Point soundproof. While there is a high volume outside in production, we were able to create a tolerable volume inside the Point. This creates a pleasant atmosphere for the daily meetings and promotes a shared exchange of ideas. 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 on the topic of Lean & Kaizen and are now using their newly acquired knowledge to support us in the implementation. In weekly meetings, the teams discuss their upcoming steps and develop concepts together. Another concrete measure that has taken place at Mounting Systems is the exchange of the roles of the so-called "dogs". Through observation and consultation, it was determined that the previous roles were worn out and had a high resistance. As a result, the dogs sometimes had to be moved with two or three employees. The introduction of new rollers, which have a load capacity of 900kg per piece, are long lasting and ergonomically better adapted, now allows the movement of the dogs by only one employee. Little things that facilitate the entire workflow.
In addition, our compass room was revived a few months ago, promoting consultation between the individual teams. Upcoming goals, planned actions and a visualization of which processes went well and which did not can thus be bundled centrally in one place. If there is interest, one of our employees can also ask about the processes of the other teams and get an overview of the direction Mounting Systems will take in the future. In addition, because each employee enters their tasks independently or in consultation with their team, our compass room helps to encourage individuals to work independently. Shared responsibility and shared leadership emerge.
Within our production and logistics, we have been able to agree on standardized key figures in recent months, which will in future also be displayed on flat screens in the goods issue area and at the store floor point. This means that every employee can see, for example, how many kilograms have been produced per hour. In addition to this structuring, an audit of the individual workstation has also taken place in our office area. With questions such as: "Is there enough storage space at the workstation?" and "Is it possible for the employee to work at his workstation in the best possible way?" we looked around our office and acted accordingly to promote a positive answer to both questions.
Changes in production and consultation between management and employees are creating an improved dynamic at Mounting Systems, which will be further developed in the coming years, contributing to an idealized operational process. The positive attributes of Lean & Kaizen are already being felt and are improving the work of our employees on a daily basis. Mounting Systems has not regretted these innovations introduced in the name of Lean Management and, with regard to this, would like to continue to improve and not accept any standstill in the future.
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