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FLEXO Magazine : July 2010
for the convergence of Lean and the GPL. In an attempt to articulate the culture, they came up with a saying that is part of the process: “We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people. ” Compton said, “We believe we can have a profound impact on the quality of life of every one of us. We believe as business leaders we have a profound opportunity and responsibility to those people.” One of the most profound components of the Lean journey is the concept of fulfillment, according to Compton. “ We want people to leave every day with a sense of fulfillment. If they do that, they will do some really great things for the business, some great things for our customers, (and for their families). Getting better operating income, higher end productivity turns, reduced inventory. That’s great stuff. Those are byprod- ucts of this (process).” In a typical Lean journey, you want to focus on non-value- added activities. Machining parts adds value for the custom- ers. The time a machinist spends looking for a program, materials, tooling and fixtures does not add value. So Lean activities typically revolve around reducing cost and lead times. As part of PCMC’s journey, they want to see empower- ment and fulfillment increased. Compton spoke to the personal impact of Lean. “It enhanc- es how we communicate. Four and one-half years into this journey, I didn’t realize how poorly we communicated in our business until we were at where we are today. The company holds daily meetings in every part of the business. The first thing we talk about is celebrating and recognizing our indi- viduals. Then talk about the current issues in our process.” Beyond 5S... 7S After PCMC’s purchase by Barry-Wihmiller, they built a foundation for their Lean journey on 7S events, where they would clean, paint and organize each target work-space to make it safer and more efficient for the people that work in that environment. Using cross-functional teams, the 7s events focused on 1. Safety, 2. Sorting, 3. Straightening, 4. Sweeping, 5. Scheduling, 6. Sustaining, and 7. Satisfaction. The 7s teams produced visible results when they set about to physically “fix” something in the plant. “ You could physically see the change that you made in the business,” said Compton. This began to create the culture change the company was seeking. They set up a schedule and encouraged everyone to participate. Since then, the teams completed 275 such events. Value Stream Mapping helped the company align busi- ness processes that bring value to their customers, as well as identify those activities that did not add value. Elimination of non-value-added activities greatly improves the company ’s efficiency, customer service and product deliveries. Inventory InveStIgatIon During the plant tour, one of the team members described how PCMC used to have $21 million worth of inventory on the shelf, yet still was late on everything. Material would be received, then physically moved to its predetermined inventory holding location in the farthest corner of the massive ware- house area. Some 20 minutes later, the item would show up on inventory and a technician would go to the farthest corner of the massive warehouse area to retrieve the part. The repeated handling of thousands and thousands of parts represented an enormous handling expense; and that was in addition to the inventory carrying costs and tremendous amount of floor space (three entire bays, each about the size of a football field) required to accommodate such an inventory. Despite having an enormous inventory of stocked items, they only had the needed parts in-stock 70 percent of the time. Through a combination of Kaizen events, 7S events, and value stream mapping, the company modified ordering practices, receiving systems, and component staging processes. Incom- ing parts are now immediately identified on the computer system as available and are placed directly into the process, eliminating countless hours of material handling. In-stock inventory has been reduced to $3 million, yet they now have the required parts in-stock 98 percent of the time. The company used value stream mapping to help identify the critical components customers need in the event of a breakdown. Those 500 items are part of their “spares” pro- gram and are on the shelf, ready to ship, 100 percent of the time. They have also developed stocking strategies for 5000 other frequently needed components, which are out of stock less than 2 percent of the time. The average lead-time on custom-machined parts used to be 41 days. That was based on only four hours of actual ma- chining (value added work). They are now able to ship custom parts in five days and even have accommodations to ship those parts in two days when a customer’s machine is down. What they found through these events, is a tremendous amount of wasted time. Operators would be scheduled to do a job, but would not have everything needed to accomplish the tasks, whether they be tooling, materials, CNC programs or what have you. The operators would waste valuable ma- chine time walking around looking for the items they needed to get the job moving. In the process, product would routinely be delivered late. PCMC now has systems in place to insure every operator has everything needed to proceed with a job before the job is assigned. All of these efforts brought the company from a firefighting mode to what it describes as “synchronized execution. ” While many companies fail in their Lean journeys by focusing on the tools rather than the profound leadership changes required, PCMC is enjoying the benefits of a pervasive yet ongoing cultural transformation. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Lanska is president of D. J . Lanska & Associates. A near 30-year veteran of the flexo industry and technical specialist, Lanska is a regular speaker at industry technical conferences and has written numerous articles on various aspects of the flexographic process. He is an active participant in the Supplier Leadership Council, as well as several FTA committees. His book, (available from the FTA bookstore) is titled, Common Sense Flexography: A User’s Guide to Improved Pressroom Productivity. The book is being incorporated into flexo programs at Pennsylvania Col- lege of Technology and Appalachian State University. Lanska holds an MBA from Concordia University Wisconsin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.linke- din.com/in/davidlanska. FTA TODAY www.flexography.org julY 2010 FLEXO 49 FLXO_July10_v2.indd 49 7/16/10 9:37 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010