Getting involved in continuous improvement and ‘flagging’ up any concerns with ways of working, so we can improve the quality and efficiency of our processes is how we can play our part in Refocus. And one person who has ‘literally’ done just that is Laura Atkinson from Stampings Group!
Laura took it upon herself to create a new system for storing the triangular flags, used on the aluminum and steel pallets, which regularly went missing.
This resulted in lost time because production workers kept having to leave the line to go and look for the flags.
Laura raised the issue to her group leader and with the help of the Kaizen team, was able to identify and make use of a redundant barrier. This barrier has now been installed at the rear end of line 45, where Laura works, and is being used to hold the flags up neatly.
Laura said: “Before now, looking for flags was like a game of hide and seek as no one knew where they were, and we spent so much time trying to find them.
"Having missing flags could mean pallets leave the line without following the correct process of the Group Leader signing the parts off, this could result in a wrongly labelled pallet reaching our customers. A wrongly labelled pallet is a huge cost to the Stamping Group and the worst-case scenario could cause a stoppage to production in one of our customers’ Body Shops.
“It was also unsafe as because the flags are triangular, they are sharp and we would often find them on the floor or hung up in places, so they could easily fall down and hurt someone. I found the process of raising a kaizen straightforward and am proud I was able to push through a change, which has created a better way of working for the team.”
Andy Oxton, Laura’s group leader on Line 45, said: “Laura’s idea might seem simple, but it’s already made a huge improvement to people’s working day. By creating a dedicated home for the flags, it’s made it a much safer and tidier environment and now the team can get on with their shift without having to factor in unnecessary lost time looking for flags.”
“It has cost us nothing, as we were able to make use of a redundant barrier instead of buying materials in- but the difference it has made is priceless.”
Changing the way we operate to reduce waste and cost and improve the quality and efficiency of our processes is key to delivering Refocus at Halewood.
We must all play our part in Refocus and getting involved in Kaizen and continuous improvement is a key way that employees can do this.
You know your processes better than anyone and there is always a better way of doing things so please continue to share your ideas and best practice with your group leaders so we can create a better way of working.