In a blog posted last year, “Converge Implements 5S to Optimize Quality and Efficiency,” we talked about the implementation of the 5S method and how closely it is tied to Lean Six Sigma, which was popularized by the Japanese automotive industry.
Last month, Converge embarked on a journey to further re-evaluate our processes to optimize efficiencies in quality, time, and workspace by hosting a Kaizen event at our Peabody, Mass., facility.
Kaizen, which is Japanese for “improvement” or “change for the best,” is a concept utilized to help eliminate waste. It’s a philosophy or practice that typically focuses on the continuous improvement of processes, whether it is in manufacturing, engineering, or management. Kaizen events typically result in changes to activities that could continually improve all functions in the organization and apply to processes such as purchasing, compliance, and logistics while also crossing over into the supply chain to evaluate and measure for potential waste.
Converge’s Kaizen event was held in early December 2013, and it provided the team with an opportunity to evaluate and measure our current electronic component distribution methods and quality processes in order to identify additional opportunities for efficiency improvement.
Some of the questions we asked included:
- How can we increase productivity in all stages of the quality inspection process?
- How can we decrease processing time?
- How can we create opportunities for business growth?
During this event, we identified that making one small adjustment, such as redesigning the layout of our warehouse operations (due to shifting business), would not only streamline our inbound/outbound quality and inspection processes but also afford us extra space in our warehouse for future business opportunities.
In the final testing stage after our redesign, we carefully measured and documented all the processes and operator activities during the inbound, quality inspection/testing, and outbound processes in order to support a more “lean” layout. The results were even better than we expected, with an overall reduction in processing time and a significant reduction in travel time during the process for the operators/engineers, not to mention the very positive feedback we received from our operators! It also improved our 5S scores, which is equally exciting.
As mentioned in our previous blog, the implementation of the 5S method and now the recent Kaizen event have created quite a stir in our corporate culture. Now more than ever, our employees feel empowered to continue finding ways to improve rather than be complacent with current procedures. The result is that our customers can be even more confident that the services and products we provide are in fact “just in time” and the “very best in class.”
It isn’t easy being lean, but Converge is committed to continual improvement, which allows us to stay ahead of the competition year after year.
To learn more about our Kaizen event or the 5S Method, just drop us a line to start the conversation.