Smelly Feet & DIY Shelving

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					Smelly Feet & DIY Shelving.
Anecdotes from the War on Waste during
the Journey Without End
Steve Harrison, John Crane

John Crane is the acknowledged                                                       They are discussing a newly launched
world leader in the manufacture of                                                   product. Everyday components travel
engineered sealing solutions and                                                     35 miles from machine to stores.
supplies extensively to the oil, gas                                                 The Reading factory was crowded
and pharmaceutical sectors, as well                                                  with machine tools and populated
as the chemical, power, pulp, paper                                                  with machinists. Where could you
and water markets. By combining                                                      put the parts when they were made?
a truly comprehensive range of                                                       Who could assemble them? Who
products with an innovative                                                          would arrange shipment and talk to
approach to the creation of new                                                      customers. This was a factory not
sealing solutions, the company has                   Feet on parade!                 business. Or was it?
earned itself an enviable reputation          The above was a conversation                In the lean toolbox I am sure you
for setting new standards of             between the Operations Director and         are all familiar with the tool 5C or 5S.
operational performance and              his facilitator.                            (If not go to Google and look it up,
reliability. This article has been            The picture above, tells you who       then go to your garage and apply it.
drawn from the experiences of its        won the bet.                                No delays, learn by doing). I am
operational team at Slough over               This article is part of the story of   always amazed at how much space
the last 7 years. Its aim is to share    one company’s Lean journey as told          can be found. In the Slough factory
some of the practical realities of       through the eyes of that same               recently they have found enough
implementing change, especially with     facilitator. (The author)                   space to create a service centre office
regards to lean best practices. The           “Do you think we could do              and a new seal build area. The space
author hopes that its readers can find   kanban?”                                    was always there but it was hidden
relevance, usefulness and humour in           “What, real Just-in-Time supply        under the junk and inventory that
these recalled memories.                 style, make when you need to,               comes with wasteful practices.
     “So tell me again. You want them    triggered visually?”                             Back to Reading. Of course
to go into a room, give them some             “Yeah, that sort of thing. I was       they found space and some of the
felt tips and crayons and get them to    just thinking we currently CNC              machinists learnt to build seals.
draw. You also want them to take         metal parts in Reading and then             However, none of this was supposed
their shoes and socks off and you are    we ship the parts to stores in Slough.      to be happening since Lean just
going to play whale sounds at            It’s got to bring some benefit if we        did not fit our business. There was
them. And this is how we are             made and assembled in the same              no official budget. So the guys
going to launch our new leadership       place. Who knows we could even              went to B&Q and bought some
programme?”                              ship finished seals straight out of the     shelving (cheap, quick and very
     “Yep. And by the end of the day     Reading factory. What do you                easy to assemble) and with a few
we will have a team of Bull’s.”          think?”                                     coloured bins we quickly started the
     “Bulls?”                                 “Well there’s no batch size, little    evolution from factory to business.
     “Sorry. BUL’s. Business Unit        repeatability and demand jumps all          It is amazing how success, (sales
Leaders. The front line in our war       over the shop. But if we could, then        growth and delivery performance
against waste”                           it would definitely help with our           measures a magnitude better than
     “OK then but bet they don’t take    challenge of accountabilty. We could        any other product line), helps to
their shoes off”                         almost treat it like a small business.      prevent the backlash for breaking
     “You’ll see. Come along at the      Lets try it.”                               the rules.
end”                                          This recollection is 2 years                “So lets get this straight. The
     “OK”                                previous to the smelly feet moment.         room is not big enough, we do not

                                                                           CONTROL Number 1    2005        25
                                         suppliers to change when we only               “We could try and involve them.
                                         ever demanded a price reduction?          We know that cotton reels work
                                              So we went to them and helped        because people learn whilst having
                                         them to run their business better.        fun. Could we try the same for a
                                         (Of course, benefitting in the process)   change activity?”
                                              Covey states, “Begin with the             “What makes the process of
                                         end in mind” and that was how we          planning and implementing more
                                         planned their kanban supply to us.        enjoyable?”
                                         It’s also a great approach to follow to        So we have had a success at
                                         make your plans realistic. If you (and    Reading. We had received the green
                                         your team) think of all the things that   light to replicate the Operational
                                         could go wrong, or stop you from          Business Unit concept. We had new
                                         making it happen today, then you are      volunteer leaders, who knew it was
                                         50% closer towards making it real.        more about being followed than
                                                                                   leading and were eager to embrace
                                                                                   their responsibilities in creating the
Machining visual ‘KANBAN’ pull system                                              brave new world.
have enough chairs and only 1 in 5                                                      But we still had a lot of people
of them understand English, is that        A section of the 20ft process map!      sitting in functional silo’s waiting to
the size of it?”                                                                   see what was going to happen. So we
    “Yep. But we do have the                 We first of all mapped their          gave them the chance to work it out
instructions translated into French,     process and took photo’s to make the      for themselves.
and we know how once it gets going       map more visual afterwards. (If you
the game basically runs its self. Lets   want to see the 20ft laminated
give it our best shot, we really need    process map feel free to come and
these guys to change over to Fax         tour Slough and ask to see it.)
Ban. We know that this is our best           The end result was an agreement
method of overcoming their               to put 30 parts (the highest runners)
resistances to the change. And it will   onto a Fax Ban supply method within
be fun, you’ll see.”                     3 months.
                                             As usual we suffered teething
                                         problems, but nothing that simple
                                         talking and listening (with the help of
                                         some problem solving tools) could
                                         not resolve.                                     A workshop in progress
                                             Now in Slough we have evolved
                                         from Fax Ban to Zap Ban and have in       By running workshops focussed on
                                         excess of 1000 parts on a JIT style       improvements, especially the design of
                                         system of supply.                         layouts and tasks we started the
                                                                                               process of helping them
                                                                                               to help themselves
                                                                                               and therefore help the
   The simulation under way using
  coloured cotton reels and 0-rings                                                            business to improve.
                                                                                               It was not about some
     So the Reading experiment had                                                             clever engineer having
been a success and the idea of                                                                 analysed the workflow
Operational Business Units had both                                                            and designed a new
been accepted and implemented.                                                                 layout. It was about the
A simple simulation based upon                                                                 people creating for them-
some coloured cotton reels and                                                                 selves their new world.
O-rings had been used to great                                                                 A better, faster, leaner
success to act as a catalyst:                                                                  world. Later this would
specifically helping people to                   An evolved JIT style supply system            become the LIFE process.
agree that there was a problem,                                                                (Little Improvements
ie. the wasteful way in which we did     “It always comes down to people.          From Everyone, our philosophy and
business today. However only 20%         People resist change and people make      toolbox for a process of on going
of the seal was made in, the rest        change happen. Surely there must be       improvement).
came from the external supply            a better way of involving the people          And it was fun. (It still is.)
chain. How could we influence our        so that they want to change?”                 And it worked. (It still does.)

26          CONTROL Number 1 2005
    “So how can we make it even          see for yourself. (Why not join the   write of your experiences or open
more sustainable? If we want this        IOM visit on 16th March?)             your doors to help others to start on
place to become our showroom                 Thank you for reading this. The   their never ending journey. For those
and help us grow sales, how are          author hopes that he has in some      who wonder at the sources of such
we going to keep it improving            way stimulated or energised you to    ideas, the author can reccomend a
and always looking great?”               help in the war against waste. He     diverse range of guru’s who have
    “Well it always looks good           also hopes that more of you who are   all in some way helped to inspire this
when we have a customer tour,            in the front line feel compelled to   “learning to be delightful” journey.
so why do we have to wait until
then? Why not treat everyday
as if a customer was going to
    “What , like always being on             About the author                   currently working within the
tour? Hey that sounds good….”
                                                                                Process Industries. Steve is very
    People often ask me what                 Steve Harrison has written         keen on the implementation of
the business benefit is of the               these words based on a team’s      good ideas, through thinking
numerous tours that we arrange.              memories. Steve currently          differently, learning by doing
Does it mean that we get more                 holds the role of Strategy        and effective planning to make
sales? Does it mean that our                 Development Manager for John       things happen.
people are more engaged and                  Crane (Europe, Asia & Africa.)         If any readers would like
more productive? I think that                Previous to this he has been       to discuss anything arising from
opening our doors means we have              responsible for people &           this article or the war on waste
a virtually unlimited supply of idea’s       business development.              in general please contact Steve
and catalysts. Who knows what                    Steve has at various times     on:
innovative idea some vistor might            worked in a variety of markets
bring? When we say “Always on                from Automotive to Space 
Tour” we are, so please feel free to
take up the invitation and come and

                                                                       CONTROL Number 1   2005        27

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