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BLUE LIGHT

26. April 2018 13:52

A COMPANY MAKING BUMPERS FOR SEMI TRUCKS HAD ADOPTED THE IDEAS IN THE GOAL, IDENTIFIED WELDING AS THEIR BOTTLENECK, MADE GREAT PROGRESS BUT EVENTUALLY RAN OUT OF CAPACITY AT WELDING.  THEIR SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM WAS TO EXPAND THE PLANT, BUY MORE EQUIPMENT AND HIRE MORE WELDERS – A SOLUTION, BUT NOT THE TODAY SOLUTION THAT CORPORATE WANTED.  SO THEY ASKED TO TAKE A SECOND LOOK.    

WE REVIEWED THE PRODUCTION DATA WITH PLANT MANAGER WHICH SUPPORTED THAT THEY WERE OUT OF CAPACITY.  WE SAID IN OUR EXPEREINCE THERE IS ALWAYS AT LEAST 25% HIDDEN CAPACITY, BUT INSTEAD OF ARGUING WE SUGGESTED THAT WE DIRECTLY OBSERVE WELDING.  BEFORE OBSERVING AN OPERATION WE ALWAYS DEVELOP A MENTAL IMAGE OF WHAT GOOD SHOULD LOOK LIKE (WGLL).  OUR MENTAL IMAGE WAS THAT WE WOULD SEE A LOT OF BLUE LIGHT –  WELDING TORCHES ON AND SPARKS FLYING.

WE TOOK A POSITION WHERE WE COULD SEE THREE WELDING BOOTHS – THERE WAS BLUE LIGHT BEHIND EACH METAL CHAIN SCREEN.  AFTER A FEW MINUTES THE BLUE LIGHT WENT OUT IN ONE BOOTH, THE WELDER SHUT DOWN HIS TORCH TOOK OFF HIS MASK AND GLOVES, WENT TO THE NEXT BOOTH, TAPPED THE WELDER ON THE SHOULDER AND SPOKE TO HIM.  THE SECOND WELDER REMOVED HIS MASK, GLOVES AND TURNED OFF HIS TORCH.  HE ACCOMPANIED THE FIRST WELDER TO HIS BOOTH AND HELPED HIM LIFT SOME VERY HEAVY WELDED BUMPERS OFF THE TABLE AND LIFT SOME UNWELDED BUMPERS ONTO THE TABLE AND RETURNED TO HIS BOOTH.

THE FIRST WELDER DIDN’T IMMMEDIATELY BEGIN WELDING AND SEEMED TO BE SCRAPEING SOMETHING OFF THE BUMPERS.  THE PLANT MANAGER, NOTING OUR PUZZLEMENT, EXPLAINED THAT THEY PUT A PLASTIC FILM ON THE BUMPERS TO KEEP THEM FROM GETTING SCUFFED AND SCRATCHED AS THEY MOVED THROUGH THE PLANT.  THE WELDERS NEEDED TO SCRAPE OFF A SMALL AREA IN ORDER TO WELD ON THE STRUTS.   WHILE WE WERE TALKING THE BLUE LIGHT IN THE THIRD BOOTH WENT OUT.  THE WELDER EMERGED, TOOK A HAND TRUCK, MOVED THE COMPLETED WORK OUT OF THE BOOTH AND WENT TO LOOK FOR THE NEXT JOB.  SINCE WELDING WAS THE BOTTLNECK, THERE WERE MANY JOBS TO BE WELDED – A LARGE PILE.  AS THE READER SUSPECTS, THE NEXT JOB WAS NEAR THE BACK OF THE PILE, WHICH REQUIRED MOVING MANY PALLETS TO REACH IT.

THE PLANT MANAGER TURNED TO US AND SAID “SEE MY PEOPE ARE WORKING ALL THE TIME”.  WE AGREED, THE WELDERS WERE BUSTING THEIR BUTTS.  AT THE SAME TIME THERE WAS VERY LITTLE BLUE LIGHT.  TWO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES OF THE SAME SITUATION.  RATHER THAN SUGGEST SPECIFIC IDEAS ON HOW THEY COULD PRODUCE MORE, WE SIMPLY SHARED OUR PERSPECTIVE – VERY LITTLE BLUE LIGHT.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE PLANT MANAGER REACTED?  WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE TO INCREASE PRODUCTION?

LEARN THE RESULTS IN OUR NEXT BLOG AND COME CHECK OUR SESSION "RESULTS MATTER" AT THE IWF 2018 EDUCATION CONFERENCE.

 

 

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