Boston Centerless - Precision Matters Magazine Fall 2018 - Page 8

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT LEAN ON ME WHAT DOES “Lean” mean to Boston Centerless (BC)? To some, it means applying 5S methods to clean out and organize a work station. To others, it means applying lean tools and techniques to streamline setup reduction and improve overall efficiencies. And for some, Lean means Six Sigma and high- level quality systems. At BC, it means all of these things, but above all, it means engaging every member of the team to participate in continuously improving the way we service our customer. In essence, it’s all about the people and the culture of the organization. After 20+ years on the Lean journey and winning the Northeast Shingo Prize Silver Medal, BC could take the stance that we are lean and rest on what we have achieved. I have visited many manufacturers “practicing lean,” the one issue that they all face is how to sustain lean activities over the long run. Many companies go through the initial phases and implements lean tools, throws up a bunch of posters touting lean, and trains staff on how to implement such tools. They see great results as they bring systems on line and make great improvements. But after a while, the momentum created from the launch of a Lean journey is lost. This loss of energy and action towards continuous improvement is a common story. The difference between these companies and a successful lean organization is the culture it possesses and the engagement of all members of the team. Implementing Lean tools and processes without instilling a culture of “continuous improvement” throughout the organization will undoubtedly lead to failure. It’s just a matter of time. At BC, we have built— and continue to hone—a culture that enfranchises every team member to focus on continuously improving customer satisfaction. The foundation of this culture can be found in our Core Purpose and Core Values. This incessant desire to strive for excellence in all aspects of our business and adhere to a sound set of values is fondly referred to as “The BC Way.” The BC Way is an attitude that drives us to do whatever it takes to satisfy our customers. It includes the folks on the phone, those in the field who work directly with customers, as well as every administrative and production employee at BC that performs at a high level to get the job done. It happens across numerous functions, from the warehouse, where keeping material organized and maintaining lot accuracy is critical; to manufacturing, where meeting specified tolerances and delivery schedules are imperative; to shipping, where accurate documentation and quality packaging all result in a satisfied customer. Over the years, we have seen that our best sales tool is a visit to our plant. There is no better way for existing and potential clients to understand how much we care about their satisfaction than to have them come to see our finely tuned operation in action. Invariably, visitors are wowed by the cleanliness, orderliness, quiet diligence, air-tight controls, 8