January 7, 2009
In its ongoing dedication to continuous improvement techniques and lean manufacturing processes, Harsco Industrial Air-X-Changers recently completed two inaugural kaizen events as part of a LeanSigma® company-wide methodology.
Kaizen is a Japanese term that means “change for the good” and is a vital process in executing the LeanSigma discipline. Kaizen events take place over five highly-focused days, preceded and followed by extensive weeks of pre-work and post-sustainment. The end result of a kaizen is the actual implementation of those ideas into the manufacturing process to make it more productive.
Harsco Industrial Air-X-Changers’ kaizen events this fall focused on the side frame, paint and tube rolling department, with a goal of identifying waste, improving safety and ultimately satisfying the increasing demand in natural gas markets for improved product and top-of-the-line quality.
LeanSigma combines two powerful disciplines: Lean’s focus on elimination of waste and Six Sigma’s focus on reduction of variation. Experts say that as much as 90% of a business process typically adds no value to the customer, simply because of the amount of wasted time and unnecessary activity. This applies equally to office processes as well as operations. Rick Ketchum, Harsco Industrial Air-X-Changers Vice President and General Manager, says, “LeanSigma is not about slashing costs and reducing headcount, it is about doing more with what we already have. By improving processes and eliminating waste, AXC will free up the critical resources and creativity we need to continue to grow our business.”
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