Written by Jason Gledhill, Engagement Leader at LI Europe.

As a Manufacturing Improvement Professional, I am lucky to have the opportunity to visit many factories, producing huge numbers of different products. Many of these factories have been good, but on occasion, some of these factories have been exceptional. The layout of the production facilities, level of GMP and the standard of visual management within these factories have been outstanding.

It’s from these factories that I have become a thief.  Perhaps thief may be a strong word to use but why not share great ideas around when you have the chance.   I have not been too proud to learn new ideas and have subsequently implemented them in many manufacturing facilities. Even mediocre sites often do some things better than anyone else.

I am fortunate to be able to visit a range of factories on a regular basis, whereas many of you will be on the same site day in and day out and have little, or no opportunity to visit other sites. Imagine if you had the chance to visit numerous production facilities and see different ideas and ways of working?

Members of The Ambassadors Academy (TAA), on occasion, willingly host onsite visits to their fellow Academy members. This enables members to learn and take ideas, in return of course they also get fantastic independent feedback on what they themselves can still improve.

Every month a group of Improvement Specialists from various factories meet to discuss their latest projects and the implementation issues they are facing. Ongoing training in tools and techniques, that TAA members have requested, is delivered by LI Europe.

Click here for more information about The Ambassadors Academy.

Written by Jason Gledhill, Head of Reliable Maintenance at LI Europe

Whilst preparing Sunday lunch an incident happened that highlighted the fact that clarity of instruction is key to getting a job done right first time.

The leg of lamb was in the oven slowly roasting. Beautiful roast potatoes were turning crisp on the outside whilst remaining soft and fluffy on the inside. The kitchen was filled with the intoxicating aroma of good home cooking, and children were hanging around in anticipation of purloining a roast potato whilst my back was turned.

I had just started to prepare the carrots when I realised that we had run out of mint sauce. As you are all undoubtedly aware, to eat roast lamb without mint sauce is a sin that can never be forgiven. I therefore had to go to the local shop to purchase a jar, but also needed to get the carrots peeled and chopped.

My son, Thomas, the eldest of the tribe, just happened to wander into the kitchen at that moment, probably trying to steal a roast potato, and I saw an opportunity. I could give him the chance to learn some valuable life skills by seconding him into the role of chief carrot prep chef, whilst I went to get the mint sauce.

Thomas was promptly given the task of peeling and chopping half the carrots, whilst I went to collect the mint sauce. After listing a myriad of reasons why he couldn’t perform such a task he eventually undertook the challenge once a bribe of two roast potatoes was offered.

Ten minutes later, I returned with the required mint sauce in hand. I walked into the kitchen to see my proud son standing by the counter with half the carrots chopped and peeled, and expecting his roast potato reward. There was, however, an issue.

Rather than remove half the carrots from the bag and peel and chop them, he had removed all the carrots from the bag, peeled half of each carrot and then promptly chopped the peeled half. After arguing that he hadn’t done the task as required and therefore wouldn’t get his reward, Thomas called the official adjudicator, my wife, to make a decision. After having the situation explained to her, the adjudicator looked at the chopping board and declared that although the task wasn’t performed to my expectations, half the carrots were peeled and chopped and therefor the reward had to be paid. The situation, allegedly, was my fault because my level of instruction was not adequate. I should have said remove half the carrots from the bag and fully peel and chop those that have been removed. In other words, be more unambiguous with my instruction.

Misinterpretation of instructions is a common issue in many manufacturing facilities, especially when those instructions have to pass through numerous shifts. This misinterpretation can cause loss of production, quality defects, and more seriously, health and safety issues. One of the quickest and easiest ways to get a consistent message across quickly is via a One Point Lesson, (OPL).

Click here for our Top Tips on how to create an OPL.

 

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Written by Jason Gledhill, Head of Reliable Maintenance, LI Europe 

Whilst recently creating an Improvement Project Roadmap for a new client I was reminded of the need to update my satnav following last years holiday…

After 2 weeks of relaxation and sun in southern France it was time to drive back to Montpellier airport. We decided to leave plenty of time for the 90 minute journey and rather than take the motorway, we would see some of France via the minor roads. Six hours prior to check-in we were on our way.

The issue started when we reached our first round-a-bout. From the three possible exits, two would lead us to our destination, but which direction should we take? No need to worry, we had plenty of time, so we decided to take the first exit. Numerous kilometres and round-a-bouts later we realised that we were a third of the way into our journey time and we weren’t getting any closer to our destination. We had better consult the map!

Unfortunately our road map, which was kindly supplied by the care hire company, didn’t have the level of detail that would show our exact location. We knew where we wanted to be but not exactly how to get there.

The gentle sightseeing trip, with plenty of time for a relaxing lunch soon turned into a mad panic, with terse conversations and clenched jaws. Check in time was getting closer would we make it in time? What would we do if we missed the plane?

After some frantic driving and more by luck than design we managed to reach the airport, take a deep breath, and check in on time. Not a great end to an enjoyable vacation.

When starting any journey, be it travel or an Improvement Programmes, it is imperative that detailed planning is undertaken prior to taking the first steps.

As with my journey in France, the first round-a-bout or decision taken, if not correctly thought through can have undesireable consequences. The full understanding of these consequences is often not realised until it is too late and numerous other decisions have been taken based on this first poorly thought through judgement.

The more detailed the plan the more likely the journey or project will stay on track with regards to outputs and timings. As the old idiom says” le diable est dans le detail” or “the devil is in the detail”.

Regular progress reviews against these plans need to be undertaken and position against plan revised to ensure an enjoyable journey doesn’t become a mad panic.

If you are in the process of creating a Manufacturing Improvement Project Roadmap and would like it sense checked, then get in touch.

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Written by Nathanial Marshall, Senior Consultant at LI Europe.

You really can get something for nothing…

Ever been frustrated by the struggle to increase the efficiency on your line? Then why not think about increasing the speed of your bottleneck process?

When we suggest this, we often hear in reply “but it just leads to more waste – we get more output by running slower”. However, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Every factory we go into, we are typically able to increase the speed of the bottleneck process by at least 10% without compromising the safety or quality of the product and the people producing it. In addition, we don’t even have to problem solve.

How?  We adjust a little and watch a lot.

We find machines running below their target speed due to a perception of problems if the speed is raised. Often, the problems that occurred at those high speeds have been solved and the machine speed was never raised back to its previous standard.

In comes, free speed.

By turning up the speed of your machine an increment at a time and studying the effect of that increase for a period of time you will almost certainly find no further issues. Just one positive result – an increase in throughput.

Adjust a little and watch a lot.

You will get more output with no more waste, no more downtime and no more physical work. It costs nothing; it really is free speed.

A 10% increase in speed gives you 10% more output.

Eventually, there will come a point where one more increase does give you an issue. This is when we recommend using the ‘Problem Cause Solution’ method to problem solve.

If you’d like us to watch your lines to see where you could make manufacturing improvements, then get in touch.

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Written by Jeremy Praud, Head of UK & Europe at LI Europe.

I toyed with the idea of calling this blog ‘how to choose a supplier’, but realised that when it comes to embarking on a strategic change project that will shape the whole future of your company, you’re really looking for more – you’re looking for a partner.

As an Improvement Support partner to our clients, LI Europe has been asked a number of times to assist with the tender process of acquiring, building, or divesting factories.

The tender process can take many forms – but our top tips will help you to keep it fair and focused:

  1. Ensure sure your initial brief is sound – involve your stakeholders, scope your requirements, and think through all the decisions that have to be made.
  2. Base your decision on a balanced matrix of supplier capabilities, experience, and tender responses that will help you make your final decision.
  3. Only invite companies to tender that have a strong reputation and all the capabilities you require for your project. This requires a fair bit of homework.
  4. Make the process as clear and the timeframe as short as possible – so all involved know what is expected and remain engaged throughout the process.
  5. When it comes to making a decision – rule tenders based on your matrix and remember to feedback to the unsuccessful companies and thank them for their tender.
  6. Always perform due diligence on your final shortlist to assess financial stability before awarding the contract to your project partner.

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If you have a strategic change project on the horizon and would like some assistance in choosing partners that will help guarantee the success of the project – then get in touch today and we’ll guide you through the selection process.

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