By Wil Lington
· Day one would focus on the 5 S’s: Simplify, Straighten, Scrub, Stabilize, and Sustain. This involved a lot of cleaning and de-cluttering. This process helps provide a more comfortable and productive work environment. Employees were able to swap items that were no longer needed in their area for ones they needed from another.
· Day two focused on idea tracking and “The 7 Wastes”. The 7 Wastes are: transportation, overproduction, motion, defects, waiting, inventory, and processing and waste is considered ” anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, space, and an employee’s time, which are necessary to add value to the product or service.”
· Day three was all about G.E.D, a company philosophy the company’s president coined from the famous comedian’s line “Get ‘Er Done”. The employees were able to roll up their sleeves and put improvements into action.
· Day four focus on continued implementation. Plans were made to implement new ideas that would not be able to be completed in the 2 hours per day, 5 day event in future Kaizens.
In the end everyone won since morale was improved along with business procedures and they all received an extra paid day off during the holidays. The Willington Lean Olympics is a good example of the dedication to both continuous improvement and a happy work environment that spurred the University of Connecticut to award The Willington Companies as the Best Family Business of 2008. The Willington Lean Olympics helped illustrate that fact and proved that continuous improvement ideas discovered through Kaizen don’t have to take a long time to implement. New ideas and improvements are best made as a team and employees appreciate having their input heard and implemented which creates a happier more productive work environment.