Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 61 To our clients and friends October 11, 2005
5X Stops the Set Up Time Bottleneck
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Studying your process makes you wise.

Bob, the #1 Coater Operator at a hardboard plant in southern Oregon, told session 7B of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):

“Larry challenged us at Session 3 of the LDL to identify a project that needed to be completed, one that we had been putting off, or was dragging on and on instead of reaching completion. My choice of an empowering assignment was spur of the moment, but reducing changeover setup times is a Key Result Area (KRA), an imperative to accelerating the success of our mill. Changeover stoppages create bottlenecks and are a major constraint in our process. Changeovers stop all upstream production. As we continue to expand our product line, add more SKU’s, our process becomes more complex, and changes over setup time are becoming a much bigger problem. Shorter runs are required for us to reduce inventories and respond in a more timely manner to our customer’s needs, so shortening set-up times was the goal I decided to apply 5X more enthusiasm toward.

I started by talking with other operators. I quickly identified two setup areas that seem to be particularly problematic: Profiler/groover and paint centers. I decided to gather some baseline data on current performance. I began by tracking and charting setup down time each day for two weeks.

The first thing I learned was that we have pretty big swings each day in both areas. These numbers, when trend charted, showed

significant room for improvement, with an unacceptable amount of down time each month. With this new information in hand, we scheduled paint operator and groover operator meetings with all shifts to brainstorm ideas we could use to reduce set-up downtime. We have gathered a lot of ideas with many that have the seed of great potential. We have not found all the answers yet. Whatever changes we ultimately make have a much better chance of buy-in and engaged, committed action needed to insure success. This project will be ongoing and requires a long term commitment from everyone who is part of this process.

The lesson I learned from this experience is that when I commit to a goal, employ empowering leadership practices and am willing to commit for the long haul, I can make an important difference.

The action I call you to take is don’t just talk the talk; WALK THE WALK! Don’t just identify problems that need to be fixed and then throw your hands up in despair. Instead, go into action, do what you can do with five times more enthusiasm. The benefit you will gain is the sense of empowerment that comes from being a part of the solution, pride in yourself and the respect of others.”


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