Monday 5 April 2021

Garador Implements 5S Projects to Improve Production Environment

As part of a drive to improve their production facility, Garador have invested heavily in renewing and replacing the machinery inside the factory and have also looked for ways to improve the production environment for manufacturing garage doors and working processes more generally, with a 5S programme.

Put simply, 5S is a workplace organisation method developed in Japan that helps to reduce manufacturing waste and optimise productivity. There are five phases: Sort, set in order, shine, standardise and sustain.

The overarching theme is to decrease the amount of waste that is produced in the production plant, all the while trying to optimise how things are produced thereby increasing productivity. One of the first steps in Garador’s 5S journey has been to educate the workforce, helping them to understand how 5S works and what it does. 

Garador’s Managing Director Neil Discombe comments: 
“Firstly we setup an in-house training programme back in 2019 to get everyone up to speed on the 5S & the Lean Manufacturing System. It’s not just about implementing 5S measures in the workplace, but about helping everyone to understand why we are doing it too. We really wanted to get everyone moving in the same direction.”
After a few months the progress from the training programme was visible. The staff were more aware of 5S and how it could be used to improve the way Garador manufactures its garage doors. But this was only the first step and there was much more to do.

Garage doors are systematically manufactured on a large scale at Garador’s production plant in Yeovil, with raw materials entering at one end of the factory and finished products leaving at the other end. The plant is organised into key areas, each of which performs an important part of the production process, from cold-pressing sheets of steel to painting the garage doors. So it has been crucial to get each area organised and optimised. On the framing lines, for example, there are clearly defined positions for every screw, fixing, washer and component so optimal throughput is achieved.

You can often hear Garador’s Lean Leader David Burton using the phrase “A place for everything and everything in its place” in a team briefing or a quick chat with one of the production operatives. It all forms part of the mantra to create and maintain a clean, organised environment for production and David Burton is really enthusiastic about the positives of this approach.

David comments: 
“We’ve spent a lot of time optimising different parts of the factory where people are working to make a component for the door. Whether that’s a locking mechanism, a spring assembly or a sheet of steel for the infill, we make sure that an area is well-organised and optimised for the task that is being performed there.”
The practicalities of such an approach might involve marking out the floor, re-organising the workspace or even storing the different parts that are needed in a way that is more conducive to producing something more quickly. One area of improvement has been the section where they produce Canopy Track assembly; all components have been neatly placed into plastic boxes, the walking distance to reach components has been reduced and the floor has been painted to clearly delineate the production area.

With everyone getting up to speed and each production area being optimised, another programme was put into place using the Kanban System. The Kanban system is a method for visualising the workflow of a particular part of a manufacturing process, so you can understand the actual work that passes through that process. This enabled them to only produce what they need, when they need it.

Garador’s Managing Director, Neil Discombe comments: 
“We’ve used Kanban systems so we can speed up material flow and the production process.”
The team have invested a lot of time and resources into the Kanban system. Garador’s Lean Leader has worked tirelessly with the production team to try to get things running at full capacity. 

Maintaining a clean and tidy factory environment is a never-ending journey. Sometimes things make their way into a production environment whose immediate use or need is unclear. On a larger scale, this can result in lots of unnecessary clutter across the factory. So Garador’s Lean Lead, David Burton, has put in place a red-tagging system where just about anything from pieces of equipment through to pallets of components, are tagged, logged onto the Red tag register and put in a special “red tag” area until a decision is made with what to do with them. 

Neil Discombe says: 
“We want to make Garador’s factory more organised and less cluttered, and so we use a red-tagging system to eliminate any unwanted items. Thus far it’s been very successful.”
This red tagging system has been further backed up with “Gemba Walks” where Neil and his team regularly inspect the factory and look for ways to improve it.

Neil says: 
“We are always looking for a way to continuously improve things on the factory floor and that’s where the Gemba Walks come in. It’s a really simple way to observe the actual working processes, talk with staff about what’s happening, gain knowledge and look for ways to improve things.”

Getting the Garador plant’s production processes organised and optimised so that garage doors are manufactured more efficiently only solves part of the problem. If the changes that are implemented to the production environment aren’t maintained for the long-term, then gradually overtime things fall apart and you end up back where you started. 

As a result, the areas that have been improved undergo a weekly audit, which will help sustain the changes that have been introduced. In addition, each project will undergo a review every six months to make sure the improvements are sustained and to look for further ways to continuously improve how they manufacture garage doors at Garador. 

Find out more about Garador and the range of garage doors it manufactures by visiting or calling 01935 443701.

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1 comment:

Owen Davis said...

Interesting article. How was the "buy in" from the shopfloor workers into the implementation of 5S? I have always found some early resistance, so some early "quick wins"/clear benefits are very useful!