EMC BC Lower Mainland Consortium: Continuous Improvement Initiatives

October 1, 2019 Bren de LeeuwBC Lower Mainland 486 Views

There is something about sharing a journey that makes a networking Event extra-special!  Peer experiences can bring so much insight to the table that not only encourages others to take those first steps, but also challenges those on similar paths to adopt or seek out new and innovative processes to complement their own endeavours!  This month, our networking event was all that and more – as one Manufacturer shared their inroads when it comes to Continuous Improvement through Lean initiatives! 

Members and Guests of the EMC BC Lower Mainland SIG (Strategic Interest Group) Networking Event had the pleasure of listening, learning and contemplating applicable CI and Lean Journey experiences from Jeremy Sim, Continuous Improvement Manager for the Factors Group of Nutritional Companies located in Coquitlam.

Jeremy is very passionate about their company and the role he has as the CI Manager.  He pointed out that Continuous Improvement is everyone’s responsibility.  Together, the Factors Group is working diligently at engaging and fostering a culture of CI throughout the organization.  Jeremy outlined one way in which they are doing this through their Factors Operating System (FOS) and deployment progress to date.

The company started their lean journey in 2013.  Staff, like many other companies, was provided with general knowledge and training, covering basic lean concepts which they have been building on ever since.  They rolled out initial programs for 5S, Kanban and Visual Management and then a couple of years later followed up with Kaizen & EPS and Value Stream Mapping along with the creation of CI Talks.  Currently they are working through the Six Sigma Belt Program and also utilizing a Lean Facilitator to develop their Leadership Team.  Good leadership development and programs can lead to real change and as such they are actively growing and retraining existing leaders.  Moving forward, they are also working with Accounting and HR to demonstrate the value of lean and continuous improvement undertakings. 

Jeremy shared the growth and development of their CI initiatives including long-term goals that meet both the company purpose “Help People to Live Healthy Lives” and Objectives “Healthy Life for Everyone”.  We also learned about the company Mission and Vision.  Our Presenter explained that the company would like to be an industry leader and CI initiatives can help achieve this goal building success not only for their customers and employees, but also enabling them to become more sustainable and to strive for operational excellence.

Our Presenter explained how the FOS (Factors Operating System) supports the overall business operational culture - designed to help every single Factors Group Business Unit to grow towards excellence for consumers, customers, employees and society at large.

In addition to gaining insight on supporting and building a positive culture through the company operating system, we were able to learn about various FOS KPI’s (MDI, Safety, TPM, Quality, Cost, Culture and Delivery), explore the “House of Factors” and building employee engagement, the Factors Customer Value Delivery System (elimination of bad design, components, manufacturing and other non-conforming products), and their approach using the Strategy Deployment model and deployment giving perspective to what must be done and how that will be accomplished.  Template examples were shared supporting the programs in place.

Discussion then turned to Visual Management.  This is a program designed to create visual communication and control with the concept in mind that “what gets measured gets done”.

Jeremy reviewed some of the basic display and controls that could be used such as:   shadow boards, andon lights, colour codes, Heijunka boards, inventory control, etc.

We also learned about their Managing for Daily Improvement (MDI) system which builds on the pillars for TPM, Quality, Cost, Culture and Delivery.  This is a program designed to help employees to be successful by managing to standard work to achieve consistent performance and thereby lending to support and engagement.  They make use of huddles to enhance communication.  Various communication board examples were shared.

Lots of questions ensued for Jeremy and participating companies shared similar experiences and journey’s as well. 

We finished with some discussion on getting buy-in and engagement, generating ideas, and recognition programs.  Jeremy mentioned that teamwork is imperative for success.  They provide a variety of opportunities to get people interested and involved including:

* CI Lunch and Learn
* CI Library
* Lean Site Tours
* CI Talks
* Lean Conference

* FOS Wow! Aha! Moment

* Workshops
* Kaizen Project and Execution Process
* FOS Excellence – KPI’s
* FOS Lean Audit and Recognition
* FOS Idea Management System (I see I do)

* FOS A3 Thinker
* FOS Recognition Programs

Special thanks to Jeremy for sharing their Continuous Improvement initiatives – it was an excellent presentation that was much appreciated by everyone in attendance!

Roundtable Networking:

Discussion then opened up for roundtable networking on topics of interest to those in attendance.  We chatted about a variety of things including areas around:

  • Retention and Attraction
  • Temporary Agencies
  • Cross-Training
  • Tool-Box Meetings

Next Event:

Please mark your calendars for our next Peer Networking Event – the details follow below:




Leadership in Manufacturing


Singer Valve (a Division of Mueller Water Products)
12850 87th Avenue, Surrey, BC



It was a fabulous morning of learning about one company’s inroads with respect to the implementation of Lean Management, of fostering and developing an engaging culture, of looking to the future and of taking stock of what has worked well and what is still being discovered!

Very special thanks to our Presenter, Jeremy Sim, Continuous Improvement Manager with the Factors Group, for an awesome overview of their lean journey to date!

All the best as always!


Bren de Leeuw, Western Canada Operations
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - - 519-372-6009