Based on their advice, we have been spending more time than we expected on “the foundation,” which in manufacturing is Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s). Because if everyone does a given task “his own way," how can you have consistent quality? And also, until all your work is consistent at one level, how do you know if you’ve improved? As it turns out, Standard Operating Procedures are also an excellent training tool for teaching new hires “how we do things around here” so they don’t have to reinvent wheels. Oh, and you think you have a BETTER way to do this? Let’s test it and see. If you are right, that will be our new SOP! Consistent, predictable processes are the foundation for continuous improvement!
Another BIG change that our Lean Journey led us to at BCCD is in how we release orders to the floor. To improve our FLOW, we have assigned a production priority number to every customer’s job for a given day. Then we rout, press, and pack finished goods IN THAT ORDER. Why? It has reduced stress on the floor, since everyone knows what is the next thing to do and we are not tripping over things we made before we actually needed them. If you are a regular customer, you benefit from this improvement with every on-time delivery. That is the result of our FLOW changes!