The Lawton Standard Co. held an intercompany kaizen event during the week of April 12-16 at Penn-Mar Castings, LLC in Hanover, PA. This was a first for Penn-Mar since joining The Lawton Standard family of foundries in February 2021. Participants from all the Lawton family sites were involved in this exciting project.
As the first kaizen event at Penn-Mar, the team chose a 6S project on the grinding room. At first, the leadership team viewed this selection as overly ambitious due to the large amount of work. However, the kaizen team won them over with their desire and enthusiasm. The event proceeded.
The kaizen team consisted of eight PMC team members, four team members from The C.A. Lawton Co. in Minster, OH, one from Temperform, LLC in Novi, MI, and one from The C.A. Lawton Co. in De Pere, WI. Maintenance, administration, quality, and production were all represented, making a cross-functional group with many differing viewpoints.
A 6S kaizen is an optimization project that employs SORT, STRAIGHTEN, SHINE, STANDARDIZE, SUSTAIN, and SAFETY. The objectives include cleaning and organizing the area and improving the layout for more efficient lasting operation.
The goals of this specific project included:
- Improve the 6S audit score by 40%
- Find and fix 3-5 safety issues
- Identify and implement flow in the area
- Implement visual management
- Develop work instructions to support new processes
- Train all affected employees on the new processes
The team went above and beyond its goals. The visual impact of the changes is obvious. The reveal relayed considerable thought and commitment to the task during the report out. But the real benefit was provided by the participants.
While the team had varying levels of experience with kaizen events, all have a high level of interest in participating in more. “Engaging,” “fresh perspective,” “best practices,” and “teamwork” were used multiple times in follow-up interviews. Especially noted was the input from the various sites; attendees both taught and learned.
The most significant impact of this event was not solely the grinding room improvement. While that was a primary objective, the benefit of the process was evident. The Lawton Standard family will utilize this approach in the future. The multiple sites sent representatives to work together to improve one area. In turn, they could take some of that knowledge back to their own areas and facilities.
Our intercompany kaizen event fostered a team attitude. It expanded the continuous improvement attitude, a cornerstone of The Lawton Standard Co. family. Intercompany kaizen events are another example of a new standard in the casting industry; The Lawton Standard.