Laminates Factory

The Situation:

  • Plant manager felt that plant performance cost of quality would take 12 months putting her job security in jeopardy.
  • There were plenty of resources, but nobody was aligned productively to meeting the objective of lowering the cost of quality by at least $500,000 in six months.
  • Everyone was working independently.  Finger pointing was rampant.
  • Nobody felt empowered to take action.  Everyone was waiting for approval and when approval was granted they would have to check with somebody else.
  • The causes for the high cost of quality seemed to be random.  Everyone thought many of the problems would be impossible to solve.
  • Nobody enjoyed work.  The language, physiology, and focus of the people was negative.

The Wants:

  • A reduction in the cost of quality by at least $500,000 in six months.
  • More productive use of engineering resources.
  • A mentality where people take the initiative and make their own improvements.
  • A precise understanding of the causes for the defects generating the high cost of quality.
  • A more confident work force that has a positive language, physiology, and focus.
  • People energized to come to work, because they know they are significant and they know their work is valued.

The Level I Eight Week Project:

  • Formed a cost of quality team where membership was voluntary, but also conditional based on a “rite of passage,” which involved interviews and training.
  • Set standards for behavior, commitment, accountability.
  • Implemented the Grayrock Project Management system, which is a hybrid of SCRUM and Critical Chain Project Management.  This made everything transparent including the work each individual was contributing to whether the team was on pace.  Short daily meeting drove positive actions.
  • A justice system was put in place.  Those not committed to the success of the team were replaced.  All decisions would be made by the team.
  • Success was celebrated as positive events and individual contributions emerged.  The celebration was very specific and defined by the team.
  • Training was completed on B vs C testing (best case versus worst case).  The planning for this test, the observation of the experimental runs, and uncovering of new variables, made possible the discovering of the variables and their settings that could turn on and off defects for their most technologically advanced product lines.  Understanding the defects on these products was previously considered impossible.
  • The team working with operators figured out how to orchestrate managing materials that would be moved around, processed, and then reshuffled and put in different piles so that reconditioning of these materials could be triggered and the reconditioning process was constantly validated.  Nobody previously thought this could be done and it too was thought to be impossible.  Because of the simple training the team received on masterminding they were able to collaboratively create a simple innovative solution easily.
  • The word “wait” was stricken from everyone’s vocabulary.  If the word was used the person would be asked to come up with five things they could do right now by the team.
  • Coaching and mentoring was done by Grayrock to support the new collaborative team environment and the new way people were working collaboratively to solve problems and come up with improvements.

The Result:

  • The yield level improved to the target that would generate the required cost savings in three months instead of six months.
  • There was no such thing as an impossible problem anymore.  All defects that generated bad yields were precisely understood.
  • Everyone started to hold themselves to higher standards in behavior, setting and meeting commitments, accountability, and workmanship.
  • Their most significant customers noticed a sudden marked improvement in the quality of product they were getting.
  • Workers were engaged and committed and contributed to finding issues and resolving issues.
  • Internal competition and infighting ceased.  Everyone was aligned to making the plant as competitive as possible.
  • The plant manager saved their job and became much more confident in driving the plant to very high levels of performance.
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