6S Lean Workplace
Garvey works hard to maintain a robust 6S Lean Workplace for our customers and employees. By implementing Lean practices, principles, and tools in production, we remove waste from manufacturing to deliver high-quality products and services safely and economically.
Discover some of the ways Garvey is creating customer value through our Lean process.
What Is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing, or Lean production (often simply “Lean”), is a systematic method for eliminating waste within a manufacturing system. There are 6 S’s in Lean manufacturing that make up the fundamentals: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain, and Safety.
Whether it’s a part in Manufacturing, data from Engineering, or a service from our Field Technician team, our people ensure Lean principles are carried throughout and evolved independently to fit the team’s ever-growing needs further.
How Did Garvey Become a 6S Lean Workplace?
Our process started with simple task lists and shadow boards set up by a few managers to help maintain their teams. Later, it became a series of inspection sheets with checklists and communication boards. Now, it has evolved into a fully autonomous digital system with tracking and assignable tasks throughout the process.
Our machines are built from in-house manufactured parts and purchased parts. Gathering and tracking these parts to build these machines has always been difficult. Using shelved roller carts, we have created a workflow that keeps the parts organized with their project from the time of manufacturing and receiving.
Set in Order
Issuing hardware for a project has always been a time-consuming task for inventory. We created a two-bin hardware wall by isolating a list of all the standard hardware on our systems and working with a local vendor. Now, our Inventory team no longer needs to restock or issue most hardware, and the technicians can take just what they need. When the first bin is empty, it is placed in an RFID tag reader, and the local vendor is flagged to bring more before the second bin is used.
When we asked the staff why they didn’t clean up after their shift, the most common response was, “I could not find a broom.” People don’t want to work in a dirty environment. By adding something as simple as shadow board cleaning stations, with brooms and janitorial supplies throughout each department, we have sustained a culture of cleaning up and good housekeeping.
Material standardization was an ambitious effort for engineering and manufacturing, but they achieved their goal one step at a time. By rethinking some of our designs and narrowing down the range of available manufacturing materials, we were able to simplify our procedures and reduce our material inventory by 60%.
As a team, we recorded and then optimized our processes. We then utilized a digital platform to create templates for our teams to use with tasks, dates, and other features to ensure Lean principles are being held.
We have eliminated many prior hazards by creating a cleaner work environment with good housekeeping habits embedded in our culture. A simple bolt on the ground or cord left extended on the floor can lead to a major trip incident. By having a staff that constantly maintains their workspace, returns items to the shadow boards, and cleans up between shifts, everyone can safely navigate the shop with the risk of injury mitigated.
What Is Kaizen?
Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) is a strategy where employees at all company levels work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements to the manufacturing process. It combines the collective talents within a company to create a powerful engine for progress. Kaizen is evident throughout a Lean manufacturing framework.
For Garvey, the same key team of management and employees who first created task lists on clipboards worked together through the entire evolution to support and challenge new ideas. Weekly meetings are held amongst this group to ensure alignment between the objectives of each department and the overall company vision.
- Keep an open mind to change.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Never leave in silent disagreement.
- Create a blameless environment.
- Practice mutual respect every day.
- Treat others as you would want to be treated.
- One person, one vote.
- No such thing as a dumb question.
- Understand the thought process and Do It!
Our entire team is trained and empowered to identify and address inefficiencies within their roles to ensure we are working toward continuous improvement. We believe Lean manufacturing is a constantly evolving process with infinite room for improvement.
Through a well-constructed feedback circle of management and essential staff, we monitor and push forward new ideas to enhance our day-to-day work and the long-term picture.
Examples of Lean at Garvey
6S Shadow Boards
A place for everything and everything in its place.
These carts contain all the tools required to assemble Garvey’s standard equipment. When the assembly department is busy, these tools can be used by temporary employees or team members from another department.
This 2-bin system eliminates the need for purchase orders and ensures we always have critical parts in stock.
Fastenal Vending Machine
Our Fastenal vending machine lets employees instantly acquire commonly used supplies by entering their employee numbers.
Cross Training Board
Our team constantly improves their skill sets, and we track their progress here.