Getting involved in continuous improvement is a key way that associates can make a difference and play their part in Refocus- our global transformation programme, which is changing the way we operate to improve quality, sustainability, and the profitability of our vehicles.
Fresh from being named Halewood’s 2020/21 Kaizen of the Year, Team Talk caught up with Trim & Final’s Lee Bryant, who explains why less is sometimes best.
Holding up a small black plastic socket, Lee, who is a Group leader on Line 9, said “This is my Kaizen. It might not look very elaborate, but this simple idea is helping to drive down the delivered cost of our cars at Halewood. Our Cost Per Unit is the cost of producing one of our vehicles, so the lower this figure is, the more competitive we are as a factory.”
Lee has created a 3D printed multi-spindle socket which go inside our multi-spindle guns. These are the guns that are used to hand start the nuts onto the wheel studs, on the wheel hub, during production.
Talking about the inspiration for the idea, Lee credits his team for this, as a few months after starting as their group leader, they regularly fed in ideas to improve quality processes on the line, with the sockets being one of the main causes of frustration.
He said: “The team came to me as the sockets were regularly becoming worn but there was a reluctance to replace them as it was expensive to do so. But the reality is, if they are faulty, they can easily scrape and cause damage to the wheels, which may result in them getting unnecessarily scrapped- so more cost out of the business, so there had to be another solution.
“I knew we had the skills and facilities to design our own sockets in-house, so I worked with David Brocklebank and the Body in White team, to develop our own 3D prototype, which is what we now use in the multi-spindle guns.”
These sockets can need replacing up to three times a year and are used all down the line, but our BIW team can produce a full set in-house for Lee for £80, where it had previously cost £3000 through a supplier.
Speaking about the Kaizen process, Lee said: “Getting involved in Kaizen allows us as individuals and teams to make important changes to our quality processes and push cost efficiencies but it also opens up many more opportunities for employees.
“For me, being a new group leader to Line 9, it was a great exercise to gain the trust of my teammates by creating a solution to an ongoing quality concern with the sockets. However, it also allowed me to work with colleagues from other parts of the business, including David, who designed the CAD files for us on his 3D printer. It was a great cross functional effort, and the process has allowed me to develop my own skill set and knowledge, which has been invaluable.”
They say the proof is in the pudding and according to Lee, since the new sockets were integrated into the TPM process in April, they haven’t had to change a single one since!
We must all play our part in Refocus. Getting involved in Kaizen and continuous improvement will help us to work together to reduce waste, cost and improve efficiency and quality. You know your processes better than anyone, so please communicate your ideas to your Group Leader or Production Leader to help us to create a better way of working.