May 13th was a day of activity between manufacturers that demonstrates that manufacturers in Waterloo region are engaged with Continuous Improvement and open to learning from each other regardless of their industry focus and core competencies! This activity happens every month with EMC. If you are a manufacturer and wish to experience these events, please contact Mike Baker at EMC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a summary of the great manufacturing benchmarking and networking activity that took place May 13 <sup>th</sup> hosted by Pride Signs in Cambridge!
Sr Managers: Pride Signs General Manager Terry Koudys hosted a large group of Sr Managers across a wide variety of industries to benchmark best practices from a senior strategic level. Terry provided an overview of their business model and processes, followed by a tour and a debrief that allowed attendees to provide feedback to the host, as well as consider ideas to take away to their own facilities. Some of the discussion included "front-end" metrics, RFQ times, custom manufacturing strategies, diversity as a competitive advantage, job flexing, visual cues in production, checks and balances through milestones of production, communication challenges through sales to manufacturing to customer, project management and strategies to be visible to the customer.
Continuous Improvement: A group of 35 Continuous Improvement professionals got together to have a tour and a review of lean principles followed by brainstorming session on a cellular manufacturing challenge faced by Pride Signs. Members were challenged to provide suggestions and possible solutions to increasing throughput in a manufacturing cell without adding manpower or significant investment in resources. A long list of suggestions were provided to the host by the break-out groups that Pride Signs will be seriously considering as they implement changes for improvement. This format also challenges attendees to reflect on their own challenges and issues in their own facilities, and consider ideas to take back to impact their own efforts in CI.
Engineering: Following a tour, Chris Sharpe and his team of design and engineering folks at Pride Signs provided an overview of how the engineering function manifests in this custom manufacturing operation. Strategies for data collection and project management were shared and benchmarked between engineers from various manufacturing operations. Other discussion items included the role of engineering function in quoting and design efficiencies and success of RFQ's.
Human Resources: The topic for the HR folks this month was : "Benchmarking: Employee Engagement Strategies". As usual, a dynamic exchange of information and processes was facilitated between a large group of HR professionals who work in manufacturing. Some of the discussion points included:
- Corporate culture strategies
- Communication and employee involvement strategies
- Transparency strategies and practices
- Use of team leads and supervisors in supporting employee engagement
- Role of HR in CI and other change initiatives
Other round table items emerged, particularly challenges and strategies working with EI and current work-share government representatives and processes.
It was a great day of learning for everyone, and a great day for manufacturing in the Waterloo Region! Congrats to all of those manufacturing professionals who possess the mindset of being open to learn from others, and seeing the value of networking and benchmarking with other industries!
Yours in networking,
Mike Baker, Sr. Field Service Advisor