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Roll out the pilot to other areas and continue to measure and evaluate progress while constantly encouraging feedback.It’s also important to celebrate ‘quick wins’ and successes.
Next is looking at addressing as many visible waste problems as possible and seek to resolve downtime and other issues which cause instability.
Finally, there is selecting a pilot project to implement and run with it for up to three months before evaluating and reviewing activities and improvements as well as learning from mistakes.
Over the last 12 months, accelerated sales growth conversely brought a series of challenges as the department became a bottleneck which impacted detrimentally on the effectiveness of the supply chain.
With the spotlight being placed on increasing throughput, a project team comprising Refreshment Systems managing director Alistair Balmforth, service manager Steve Wright and workshop supervisor Kevin Whittle conducted a comprehensive communications, processes and housekeeping audit – the latter including a 5S exercise in the 250 square metre department.
MANUFACTURING VS SERVICEIn the adage that one size does not fit all, lean and six sigma specialist and author Pete Abilla contrasts manufacturing and service businesses, advising against the “blind copying” of lean manufacturing tools across to services in the belief that they will be as effective.
Whereas there are consumption and production at different stages in manufacturing businesses, he says services industries entail simultaneous production and consumption (co-creation between producer and consumer).Critical aspects are more tangible in manufacturing than they are in service.There is also some variation in manufacturing compared to considerable variability in service delivery.The next step is to teach the team the use of various lean tools and to adopt best practice in the truest sense of the phrase by visiting non-competing businesses that have implemented lean.Such companies who stimulate a culture of continuous improvement are invariably willing to share their learning’s with businesses that are hungry to learn and improve.The team gave the area a spring makeover by injecting a minimal investment in reorganising the machinery and work flow with clearly demarcated areas as well as improving the lighting and the cleaning routines.As a result, the department is back on track, the bottleneck has been eradicated and the area has a ‘feel-good factor’.REDEFINING THE SERVICE WASTES FOR LEANThe original seven wastes of lean thinking were defined by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System.These wastes, widely accepted as being activities that do not add value for the customer, have often been redefined to better fit service organisations.The benefits of the pilot project are being constantly assessed with the aim of rolling out the lean initiative across the entire business.A CHALLENGESpecsavers’ corporate tax team in Guernsey commissioned a consultancy to improve their workflow and eliminate waste.