22 May 2012
Top level support and full time facilitator drive CI success says Camfil Farr
Top floor support and hiring a full-time facilitator are critical to continuous improvement success, Best Factory award winner Camfil Farr has said.
No improvement project will can be sustained without the clear support and involvement of everyone at the top of the company, the Camfil Farr team told a WM factory visit at the firm's Haslingden site.
And without someone whose sole job is to coach, question, support and motivate, progress will slow or even stall completely a group of manufacturing managers heard.
Fifteen delegates from five companies came to see for themselves how the Haslingden-based plant has built a committed, multiskilled workforce which has shaved weeks off sector lead times.
Many were embarking or mid-way through lean improvement projects themselves. The tour Q&A was dominated by concerns over sustaining lean and the need for a dedicated facilitator.
The questions show that the difficulties of balancing improvement work with the daily demands of production are widespread and painful.
Production director Jamie Kay described how it was Camfil's MD, Bill Wilkinson, who actually decided to use lean to transform its operation: "He backed us right the way through. Someone coming in to make changes will always upset people so if you don't have that kind of support, you can't succeed."
Kay was equally adamant about the critical advantage of having a lean facilitator, Mike Hill, free to give full-time support to improvement teams: "I gave Mike an operational role for 18 months and it diluted our lean progress. It is crucial to have someone who is free from the need to get product out the door."
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