In the summer of 2014, during one of our weekly management coaching sessions with the senior team, we identified the need to change and improve production and started looking into 5 ‘s’ and ‘Lean Manufacturing’. We obtained and read various books on the subject like the ‘Toyota Way’ and ‘Going Lean’ and started to gain an understanding of the principles of lean.
However in these early days we found it difficult to know where and how to start and most of all how to maintain the impetus to drive it forward. We employed an engineering graduate to help, but we still found that we were only able to bump along the bottom not getting very far. After a year or so of little real progress we were starting to wonder how we could really get this lean thing going, then Neale our Business Coach attended a seminar in the USA by a guy called Paul Akers who was talking about his book ‘2 Second Lean’. This book appealed to us as it simplified lean into obvious straightforward day to day routines and practices, that make Lean much easier to get to grips with.
We took this opportunity to get several copies of the book so that all our senior team and managers could understand what we were looking to implement, we also downloaded the audible version which we listened to on our way to and from work. After a few weeks of reading and listening we visited Paul’s main UK advocates (a company in Alfreton called Klimeeze), this really started to make sense and we decided to get NCS into 2 second Lean.
Starting on a cold November morning in 2015 we held our first morning meeting with the whole team (all 52 of us) which lasted around half an hour, we now hold this meeting every working day at 10.12 just after morning break, our very slick PowerPoint presentation is projected onto a large screen full of Lean messages and information and now only takes 10 minutes.
We encourage all our employees to have a turn at presenting the meeting, giving their own views on how 2 second lean and the eight wastes affect their day to day work. Showing all the improvements we make and keeping everyone informed of how the company is performing on a daily basis has delivered a big change in the way we now communicate as a business and work as a team. In fact after 12 months we can genuinely see a big shift in Communication, Quality and Efficiencies, but we realise that we have only just touched the tip of the iceberg, as there is massive scope for even greater strides as we continue to improve.