Kaizen - A team board shows the progress of work in an instance

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There is less speculation when everyone knows where the team stands.

The screen printing team gathers around a team board every morning at 7:05. Team leader Petri Björkqvist uses the board to go through the agenda for the day, production deviations, and any problems that need to be solved. This way the work day has a clear start.

The board tells all the necessary information about the team’s activities. It is used to provide information about current tasks, to review key performance indicators and to respond to problems. The idea of the board is based on visualisation. The board is part of the Lean philosophy adopted by Brand ID’s production team in Pori. The philosophy is based on the elimination of unnecessary work.

“We check the board to see whether we are on schedule or not. If there are red bars, we don’t
even need to talk about it,” says Björkqvist.

Everyone gets to have their say in team meetings. At the same time, we also try to find solutions to problems. If a problem cannot be solved, Björkqvist takes the matter to the next level. Routine meetings usually take five minutes.

“Of course, they may take longer if there is more to discuss or if we have complaints to review.
Björkqvist feels that the team board has brought a lot of benefits. It has facilitated the management of general affairs.

“Everything is out in the open and can be discussed by the team. We don’t need to rely on hearsay or speculation. The board also allows other teams to follow our progress.

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We don’t waste time

The elimination of waste is one of the main principles behind the Lean philosophy. In practice, it means improving the flow of production, that is, identifying and eliminating things that slow down the manufacturing process.

Brand ID’s screen printing team has been able to eliminate waste by small and simple things, for example, by regularly checking the condition of blades and colour plates. Previously, there used to be a lot of worn out parts that printers replaced alongside their own work, each in their own way. Now the parts are checked weekly and defective parts are taken to their designated place. Björkqvist either repairs the defective parts or replaces them with new ones.

“This improvement saves the time that would otherwise be spent on extra walking and the fetching of rubber blades. Before, printers had to go and get the tools themselves, which took time. If the part was not replaced, it could reduce the quality of the print and lead to complaints.”

The operational change described by Björkqvist is strongly related to the 5S method, which is part of the Lean philosophy. The method includes the following steps: Sort, Straighten, Shine,
Standardise, and Sustain. “When all items are in place, you do not need to search for them separately. Everyone knows where each tool is located. And if any unnecessary junk has appeared in some corner, it is immediately collected. These things are done on a daily basis,” says Björkqvist.

The team board requires everyone’s commitment in order to achieve tangible benefits and lasting changes in operations. The screen printing team has succeeded in this.

“Screen printing is an old technique, but we have been able to eliminate waste from this process as well. Now  we work faster and we no longer have to make unnecessary runs.

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A solid basis

Brand ID’s Development Manager Vesa Salovaara, who is in charge of the implementation of the Lean philosophy, is delighted with how the new operating model has clarified the work in Pori’s production unit. The implementation of the team board has been at the core of development.

Salovaara describes team boards as a base on which to build other functions of the Lean philosophy. The goal is to achieve sustainable changes.

“In simple terms, we aim to increase our organisation’s ability to implement strategic goals and procedures. Now that we have a mutually agreed policy for change and the ability to manage change at all levels of the organisation, it is easier to achieve lasting improvements. "

The Lean philosophy is slowly extended across the organisation. The first new operating models have been adopted by the production unit in Pori. Last autumn, a new project has also been launched in Helsinki.

The Lean philosophy is also increasingly communicated to customers. Last spring, Brand ID utilised the Lean philosophy to create a centralised ordering system and online store for ordering labels from Brand ID. The whole system was created in collaboration with the customer from start to finish.

Participating in product development is a valuable opportunity for the customer, even when speaking of such a basic function as electronic ordering.

“If the product development process had been carried out the old way, it would have been much more laborious, or still unfinished. Now we were able to systematically create a product that the customer is happy with. This is also essentially based on one of the basic
principles of the Lean philosophy, the elimination of waste.

Salovaara wants to emphasise that the company is still internalising the Lean philosophy. The production team is constantly learning how to make areas of improvement more visible and
how teams can learn to operate more efficiently.

“Cultural change is an integral part of the lean philosophy and perhaps its most
important facilitator. Inclusion plays a key role here. It’s about improving internal communication within teams, between teams and across the organisation. It’s important to ask the right questions and to discuss ideas thoroughly.