Lean manufacturing has been a key in the success of PCI Group, helping us improve efficiency, quality, and accuracy in our transactional print operations. In this episode of Ask the Experts, VP of Operations, Perry Fernandes answers the question “When did the company adopt the Lean manufacturing approach?”
“It’s something you do over time. You just don’t turn it on and flip a switch,” Perry said.
The reason behind this is because of the work that must occur around the standardization of processes, called standard works in Lean manufacturing. Perry also noted, “It takes time. We introduced it into our culture and operations a few years ago. It is a culture change along with standardizing procedures and best practices.”
Working up to being a Lean manufacturing organization, the company had to consider the SLAs (service level agreements) and deadlines they had to make for their customers. “Every hour counts, and you can’t get it back. We run 24-7 and have strict deadlines right up to the minute. So if we’re a minute over, we have to answer why.”
Since many of our customers must adhere to deadlines for compliance, we have to understand those and meet them, and the key is consistency. “We have to do the same thing all the time in the same way. We can’t have different shifts or locations not being consistent. That’s a recipe for disaster,” Perry explained.
Perry provided a simple example to illustrate the impact of Lean on SLAs. “It’s something as simple as cleaning out an individual’s work area. If part of their daily requirements is to staple papers and put them in a box, and they reach for the stapler, and it’s not there, where is it? Everything has to have its place, and that’s what 5S and Lean do, making us more efficient.”