Friday, July 13, 2007

Improvement at our Ft. Worth Plant

Our Ft. Worth plant has recently made a big improvement. I had the opportunity to visit this plant yesterday, and I snapped a few photos:

Here's their new wall-build area, which is now raised to the level of the house floor:

Here's are some close-ups:

Before the improvement, the wall-builders would set a few walls on a cart, which would be hoisted onto the floor and sorted through by the wall-setters. Now, there is no need to "batch" the walls in this manner. Walls can be "pulled" from the racks one at a time, which is much more conducive to creating flow. Over time, the inventory of finished walls in the rack can be reduced. This will lead to better connectivity between the wall-build and wall-set departments, and thus all of the benefits of flow (preventative problem-solving, more space, quicker detection of defects, shorter lead times, etc.).

The improvement at Ft. Worth is not a Lean improvement per se, but I think it sets the stage for future Lean improvements. Do you have any examples like this that you'd like to share?

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