Category Archives: 5S

Australian Manufacturer Increases Competitiveness Through Lean Manufacturing

The viability of Australia’s manufacturing sector is going to depend on finding ways to increase productivity, improve international competitiveness and eliminate waste. Lean Manufacturing has become a way for Australian companies to remain competitive.

Manufacturing accounts for 6.8% of the economy and employs more than three times as many people as the mining sector. Government policy and media commentary has tended to focus on bailouts for large manufacturers, rather than reform initiatives aimed at improving operational efficiency.

One company driving change in this sector and producing positive results is Think Perform. Think Perform is part of the Thrive Alliance group of companies and a certified provider of Lean, Continuous Improvement and Operational Excellence training. Unlike most other RTOs, which simply deliver off-the-shelf training courses, Think Perform immerses itself within a business, identifies inefficiencies and then develops and implements a program to increase productivity.

For family-owned WA-based swimming pool manufacturer, Aquatic Leisure Technologies (ALT), Think Perform underpinned a wholesale transformation of its operations. ALT is one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of fiberglass pools and had been producing them in much the same way for the last forty years since the business started. With increasing competition from manufacturers in Asia and other countries, as well as concrete pool makers, ALT knew it needed to change and change quickly. ALT had even considered shifting manufacturing offshore to remain competitive, but as a family owned business it wanted to keep producing pools in Western Australia.

The company was familiar with so-called “Lean” management, which is perhaps best associated with Toyota’s production system. Lean management is about delivering quality goods and services at the best possible prices as quickly and efficiently as possible by eliminating waste, smoothing out production issues and empowering workers.

ALT built its new factory with Lean manufacturing principles in mind and partnered with Think Perform to drive change at every level of the business. When ALT came together with Think Perform it had already started on its Lean manufacturing journey with the launch of ‘The ALT Way – Business Excellence Initiative.’ ALT had already been exporting pools for more than 30 years, but the transformation program established the foundations for ALT for further expansion in overseas markets.

Importantly, reform at ALT would not have been possible without the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCIWA) and the role it played in convincing State and Federal Governments of the need to continue supporting these types of industry transformation programs. With on-going Government support for initiatives aimed at driving operational efficiency, both CCIWA and ALT believe Australia’s manufacturing industry can prosper and once again be internationally competitive.

It has been unfortunate for the entire training industry, as well as the beneficiaries of these programs, that a few unscrupulous operators have tarnished the reputation of the sector.  However, in line with results being displayed from clients such as ALT, there are providers such as Think Perform who are delivering quality outcomes. Countries such as South Korea and Japan have demonstrated that even in a high labour cost environment, they can establish a competitive advantage in manufacturing through increased efficiency and productivity.

Click here to download a free Lean Management ebook or click here to contact Think Perform and discover how Lean Management and Continuous Improvement Training can be of benefit to your staff and business.

Receive A Free 5S Poster & A Call From A Lean Expert Within 48 Hours

Download this handy printable poster by filling out the form above. Place it where your employees can read, review and memorise 5S. One of our Lean experts will call or email you within 2 days to discuss your situation.

5S is a continuous improvement tool that assists organisations to implement competitive systems and practices. On the surface, 5S is a systematic five-step approach to housekeeping. In reality it’s a process that needs extensive leadership, discipline and focus to create the mindset to maintain a workplace that reflects quality, ownership, teamwork, discipline and pride.

See how Think Perform has worked with other Australian companies to implement 5S, reduce waste and boost profits.

Lean Organisations & 5S

Implementing 5s Principles in Your Workplace

The Continuous Improvement Process & Organisational Success

Many companies today are engaged in what is known as a Continuous improvement process. This is simply a continuing attempt to reliably enhance an organisation’s profitability, efficiency and productivity by using a proven process known as the PDCA cycle. PDCA is an acronym that stands for plan, do, check and act. What is the continuous improvement process? Continuous improvement systems and processes are strategies designed to slowly shape a company, corporation, or non-profit to the point it enjoys heightened production for less effort and a greater profit margin.

Continuous Improvement Model
Continuous Improvement Model – Plan, Do, Check, Act

What is a Continuous Improvement Cycle?

A continuous improvement cycle is known by a variety of names, such as design, implementation and evaluation, or strategy, application and measurement. Regardless of title, it is a popular and respected means for improving organisational processes, services and products. Its results are small, specific, cumulative, and surprisingly powerful. They occur in intentional cycles, which provide those in authority with time to evaluate and refine strategy as they go along. Studies have determined that an ongoing improvement process is one of the most successful means by which an organisation can achieve its long-term goals.

What Constitutes a Continual Improvement Plan?

There are typically four or more steps to a successful continuous improvement plan. Generally speaking, core elements begin with a straightforward strategy or plan, which is then implemented. When a predetermined amount of time has passed, the process is halted and the results are studied and evaluated. Depending upon the outcome, the plan is tweaked and once again put into play. Regardless of the specific type of organisational structure, a quality improvement plan results in a company that incrementally conforms itself to whatever constraints are necessary for the entity to be as profitable as possible.

Lean Training Fails Banner

How is Continuous Improvement Strategy Success Assessed?

The success of a strategy is most frequently determined by company profits. Occasionally, as in the case of not-for-profits or civic organisations, it is measured by the attainment of other measurable goals, such as efficiency, the number of contacts made, processed or converted, and similar measures. Continuous improvement processes are commonly structured to include parameters such as quality, safety, and retention. Whenever a product, service, or other attributes measurably increase beyond their baseline recording, it is statistically perceived as a success. Factors like loss reduction, client satisfaction and identification of waste are analysed when determining goals for organisational change. By comparing these types of statistics to baseline measurements, an organisation’s improvements are able to be statistically measured.

Are There Specific Characteristics of Successful Improvement Processes?

Continuous process improvement is a type of perpetual loop. It moves from planning, to implementation, to evaluation, to revision, and then back to planning, reissue and on again. It is precise and methodical. One of its key benefits is that it does not allow for organisational stagnation. Factors such as perceived vulnerabilities, areas earmarked for improvement, employee participation, and client satisfaction are monitored, measured, and manipulated to orchestrate improvement. Many organisations have noted greater levels of improvement when employees who will be impacted by the changes under consideration are included in the planning and evaluation stages of the process.

Nearly all organisations share similar goals, even when their by-products are distinctly dissimilar. Continuous improvement processes work in concert with diverse objectives such as corporate ambitions, educational aspirations, and charitable endeavours alike. The ability to qualitatively and quantitatively document measurements of characteristics like achievement, retention, loss, communication, cooperation and so forth is one that definitely sets an enterprise apart from its competition. Likewise, being able to accurately pinpoint the precise ways in which an entity stands to benefit from change is a means of providing investors, employees, and consumers alike with the assurance this organisation is one that is more than able to adapt to whatever challenges the future might bring.