The evolution of kaizen at Willington Nameplate

February 7, 2011

Willington Nameplate, Inc. has been practicing lean manufacturing since September 11, 2007. Since then there has been an evolution of the kaizen event. Kaizen is a philosophy of continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, supply chain, and management.The kaizen event at Willington Nameplate is a

The kaizen event at Willington Nameplate is a week long event that begins with a team charter that contains a problem statement, scope, and SMART goals. The team is made up of at least 4 individuals from various departments. This ensures a good mix of people from different backgrounds. The new set of eyes in a department in need of improvement is invaluable.

Kaizen in the past has been a week long event with the consultation of Fred Shamburg and Tom Dzialo from Leanovations. Both Fred and Tom have been an integral part of our lean journey. Since 2007 we have had 23 kaizen events and 10 of those events have been facilitated by our own internal lean leaders, Angel Cunningham, Dan Goepfert, Linda Lockhart, Jessica Mitchell, Jeff Morrissey, Khoa Nguyen, and Mark Rainaud.

What makes the January 2011 kaizen so special is that the small group of four employees, Mike Church, Dave Daly, Hai Tran, and Thu Tran created the improvements smoothly and with very little facilitation by internal lean leader, Khoa Nguyen. “Their cooperation and brainstorming was exceptional”, states Khoa Nguyen.

They took a dirty, neglected, and unorganized ink shed and transformed it into a neat, orderly inventory for the company supply of inks. They also developed a cleaning schedule for sustainment, and are in the final stages of drafting work instructions. To see the full presentation with “before” and “after” pictures, click here.

Another reason why this kaizen was special is that our screen printing supplier, Ray Chalk from Lambert took time from his busy schedule to attend the kaizen update meetings. His experience and wisdom added tremendous value to this event.

Since kaizen never really ends, the ink shed kaizen team has a list of action items that they are working on. Those items are ink coverage, ink cart staging, and work instructions. Our past kaizen event in the Print/Surface area has instituted a job staging cart. See picture below.

Stay tuned for more news and events next month!