All four RCM Industries die casting divisions are currently making productive strides towards implementing a major “culture change” to its everyday business activities. This “culture change” is the result of the implementation of Lean Manufacturing.
True Lean is a comprehensive management system with a focus on systematic problem solving. All layers of the organization are responsible for identifying value in their process and eliminating waste. With a foundation of standardization and incremental continuous improvement, benefits can be achieved for customers, employees, and the organization as a whole.
Through training at the University of Kentucky (UK), each RCM division is modeling their company vision after the Toyota Production System, then developing strategies to transform and sustain.
For more information on the training programs provided by the University of Kentucky, please view: https://www.lean.uky.edu/.
A successful culture change is dependent upon 100% commitment from all levels of the organization, ranking from executive to management to individual team member. By committing to the “8 steps of the Systematic Problem Solving Process”, either on paper or in thinking & behavior, the culture change will be successful and ultimately lead to improved quality, lead-times, cost, consistency, and customer satisfaction.
The first RCM divisions to start their Lean journey are Aallied Die Casting Company of Illinois and Imperial Die Casting. “Lean transformation teams” with team leaders have been identified for both divisions and trained at UK’s 3-week True Lean Systems Certification course taught by Toyota veterans. In addition to these “Lean transformation teams”, management and executive training at UK is also underway, with training for all members of the RCM executive team expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
Specific areas of the plant were targeted for improvement in product flow. For example, after 5S, specific machining equipment was identified for relocation to create additional product rack space in an effort to improve product flow and inventory process.
Die Casting setup areas were targeted for improvement. New additions after 5s include visual reference guides for different sized components, improved storage racks and shelving for component storage, and new setup areas consisting of repurposed materials.
Standards have been implemented for die casting workspace cleaning.
New and improved walkways were created to improve plant safety while improving the layout of the plant. During these efforts, the decision was made to move the quality assurance inspection area away from the shipping coordinators doorway to make more room for product ready to ship. Team members contributed greatly to these efforts, and took great pride in the work being accomplished.
Improved lighting has been added to the new quality assurance inspection area. In addition, an inspection monitoring system has been implemented to replace the current paperwork processes.
The production packaging storage area before and after 5s; identified space for customer product and packaging.
Stock is kept of the tools team members need to perform daily work, including paint, pens, markers, safety glasses, and other items. Team members scan their badge to get the tools they will need.