Improving on Productivity - The Lestercast Way

Posted 28 February 2017 By Lestercast Limited In Customer Satisfaction Lean Manufacturing Lestercast Procedures

Lestercast integrate the techniques of the Japanese 5S Programme of Development through a structured two-day training session rolled out across the company.

As part of Lean Manufacturing, a process found in production firms such as ourselves here at Lestercast, the 5S programme is a simple tool which, in short, organises your workplace into the most effective and efficient place it can be through a series of specialised techniques. The intention for the programme is to maximise value and reduce waste by implementing inexpensive methodologies and principles to accomplish these goals.

As an advocate of the programme for many years previously, a welcome update on our strategies was rolled out. 

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Originating from Japan, the term ‘5S’ represents five Japanese words which on translation become:-

- Sort
- Straighten
- Shine
- Standardise
- Sustain

Having recently been approved as Fit for Nuclear (F4N), one of the requirements is to consistently maintain an effective and lean working environment. Through the identified steps, each building on the next one, this is possible and is easily achievable if every member of staff in each department is on-board with the methodology.

The Process of Implementing 5S

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On day 1, the individuals understand the benefits behind the techniques of improving all work areas, from foundry and workshop areas to general administration offices. Eventually all areas of the entire Lestercast facility are assessed and the programme applied. They then assess each area for unnecessary items which are surplus to requirement; vital items for working practises and apply a tag to items that need to be worked on or addressed to aid the working environment and practises.

These improvements are implemented between day 1 and day 2 and on day 2, the improvements are assessed and quantified.

The programme promotes and develops teamwork, identifies needs for change and maintains and improves all working practises within all work environments.

A Champion for each department is identified and they are responsible for ensuring the work area is kept constantly monitored and streamlined according to the techniques applied. The Champion will attend regular meetings and will also audit their area of responsibility.

Why Implement 5S?

Businesses find there are numerous benefits to making use of the 5s principles in the workplace. First and foremost, use of these principles establishes a foundation for continuous improvement that may be built on. Employees become more involved in the company as they gain more responsibility and they tend to acquire a sense of ownership in their work and the business. The improvements in morale, quality, and productivity lead to increased profitability for the company and safety, likewise, improves. Every aspect of the business benefits as a result of the implementation of the principles.

The process is an ongoing one and should theoretically be integrated as standard practice of everyday policies and procedures.

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Above images depict a storage shelf before and after 5S - Clear precise labelling and organisation         

Aaron Smethurst our Quality Engineer who is heading up this programme said:

“Organise, maintain and improve – the fundamental structure behind the processes of 5s which the team are taking in their stride. We’re delighted with the impact the programme has had since we have refreshed our practices.”

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