Staged implementation the key
Bendigo furniture manufacturer Jimmy Possum have maximised the return on their investment in lean manufacturing training through gradual implementation and ongoing evaluation.
Production Leader Martin Flanagan and another senior staff member undertook training in lean manufacturing, as part of the Certificate IV in Competitive Manufacturing, with Innoven, a business unit of Goulburn Ovens TAFE, in 2008-2009.
Successful implementation of the training led to production lead times falling by 25%, finishing output per man-hour increasing by 33% and savings of $60,000 in work-in-process timber.
Introduction of new processes one at a time and team by team gave the best results, Flanagan says.
“We’ve learnt a lot about not taking on too much at once. The first project took a lot longer but, as we did other projects on a smaller scope, we got there a lot quicker.”
“Now that we’ve got it underway, different teams run their own projects but they also share ideas and solve problems between the different sections of upholstery, finishing and assembly.”
The staggered implementation not only made it easier to evaluate what was working, it also gave staff time to get comfortable with the changes, Flanagan says.
“We learned to let the teams make some progress first, so they feel like they’re getting somewhere with it and then let it grow from there.”
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