Some of the best “lean” efforts I have seen involve straightening and reorganizing our outside spaces.
I was in Siler City on Monday. It is one of our largest facilities housing a sawmill, a pallet plant and a recycling operation. It sprawls over 50 acres.
I’ve been to the plant on a regular basis for over 16 years. Having ample space, it appears that bad habits took over and due care for storage and organization went out the window.
About 12 weeks ago, the clutter was taking over and the team endeavored to clean it up.
The result is amazing. The appearance of the plant improved but the efficiencies are up along with it.
Before the reorganization, inventories were hard to manage. Things were tangled up making it awkward to count and difficult to ascertain what exactly was on hand. The lack of organization caused duplication of finished goods, accelerated degradation of raw material and unnecessary purchases.
The previous clutter made it hard to be an equipment operator. Working in narrow pathways slowed movement, created greater wear and tear on equipment. It also created an environment for accidents both of employees and to our goods. With the improved organization, time worked is reduced, cutting down on repairs, man hours and fuel. Quite possibly, we will need fewer pieces of equipment in the future.
To be sure, it took quite an effort to accomplish the reorganization. But, the effort has begun to yield fruit.
Hats off to the Siler City plant for their lean efforts both inside and outside the plant!