Transformation Calendar: Continuous Improvement
The C.A. Lawton Co. strives to improve continuously. Today we examined the Transformation Calendar with industrial engineer Tricia Berg.
What is a Transformation Calendar?
Lawton’s Transformation Calendar is a visual listing of all activities sponsored by the company to improve the company’s safety, performance, and productivity.
It covers every company area from quotation through the manufacturing process and shipping for new employees and seasoned veterans. Activities may be split into different sections where employees are encouraged to get involved.
The Transformation Calendar was created after visiting one of Lawton’s loyal customers. The idea was proposed, and management loved it. It’s a great way to map Lawton’s improvement process from beginning to end, and it allows us to measure, track, and prioritize. Each week a meeting is held to review the calendar.
What Does a Transformation Calendar Do?
The goal of the Transformation Calendar is to focus on safety, improving quality, and enhancing productivity through on-time deliveries. The calendar is currently in use at our De Pere site, but we hope to expand it to other locations.
The calendar starts with the company’s Kaizen events. These events occur each quarter and take about a week to complete. Depending on the desired improvement, they involve individuals tied to the department and those affected. Wherever there’s a holdup in the process, this is where brainstorming begins. Together, they come up with a plan to improve their process. This may involve reorganization, housekeeping, standard work, or improved flow.
No matter the area, we might go back to a department for a second, third, or fourth time with our Transformation Calendar; it’s critical to improve our processes continuously. Some of the current areas we’re looking at are our core room, ram floor, and the cleaning room.
Continuous Improvement In Action
We noticed the raw materials in the ram area were kept far away. Our ram employee spent too much time searching for parts and prepping materials (gluing or taping them together). So, though it might seem counterintuitive, we took the raw materials and moved them even further away, into another area.
We moved all the raw materials into one centralized location with a dedicated parts puller who creates kits. One person builds each kit to hold all the components needed for a project in the ram area. This allows the ram employee to focus on the mold they are creating and reduces their steps. As a result, we’re driving down waste and improving productivity with just a little rearranging.
Mini CI Sessions
Mini brainstorming sessions may occur during a working lunch. We discuss and figure out what the next course of action should be. Then, over the next week or so, those changes are implemented. If it works, great. We’ll go back to the drawing table and try something else if it doesn’t.
The Transformation Calendar has become a vital tool for our location’s communication and process improvement, strategizing for our Kaizen, Project, and Just-do-it activities.