SME is implementing LEAN PHILOSOPHY as a key factor of success.
Increasing the value of a company, also means to increase the value of people and based on this behavior Sme Group is investing a lot in its work force, adopting the Monozukuri and more important the Hitozukuri technique.
The term Monozukuri comes from Japanese words ‘mono’ and ‘zukuri’, that mean ‘thing’ and ‘production’. It consists on doing things well. It can be considered as the floor of our company mission. Each department of our company is made up of people, who takes a big care, in terms of efficiency and efficacy, of their task: from our technical office, excellent in the electronics sector; to the production, with a high qualify workers; through all staff functions. Even if the Monozukuri was considering a necessary and sufficient condition for the company success in the past, from several years this condition has revealed itself as a limit to overcome. The excess of specialization, especially in production, has determined a lack of flexibility in the job. This lack cannot be ignore in a strong competitive sector. We got to the point where we risked to compromise our capacity to react to the changes of market, despite an increasing labor cost.
To solve this problem, we decided to adopt the lean technique of Hitozukuri, from Japanese words ‘hito’ and ‘zukuri’, that mean “people” and “production”. It consists on the ability of enrich people. In other words, we understand clearly that monozukuri (product excellence) cannot be achieved without hitozukuri (people excellence).The question was: how can SME create a Hitozukuri structure for the lifelong development of employees, making sure that every employee will be successful no matter what positions they hold and what challenges they face? With the big support of the owners of Sme Group, the first step we took to activate this company cultural change was to fix meetings with SME top management and the foremen of different production departments.
“From this meeting it emerges the necessity to find a tool that can be used to describe the situation ‘as it is’ and ‘as it will be’; and use it as a source of continuous improvement” (Chief Production Officer). From this reflection, the idea to adopt the tool of SKILL MAP.
The skill map is a tool of visual management: a table made up of rows, with the name of operators, and columns, with the production lines and main tasks.
Each operator can reach a score from zero to four in every single task. This value represents his job enrichment. In particular, we decided to identify the different levels as follow:
0 – for whom, who hasn’t already had any experience in the task;
1 – for whom, who has taken part of training plan;
2– for whom, who has a full knowledge of the process;
3 – for whom, who can solve no-standard problems;
4 – for whom, who can do a guide to others.
Through the skill map we can easily understand the level of job enlargement by looking at each single row: every empty space along a row represents an area of improvement for the person itself to reach a more integrated knowledge of his job.
As a result, this tool is very useful also for the people in charge of supervision. They are quickly enabled to find the points of strength and the aspect of improvements of every workers, in a contest of long life learning.
By giving the opportunity to the workers to do different jobs, we are giving them the opportunity to better understand the behavior of company and to face new problems with new solutions.
“Many times, the operators themselves apply their multitasking ability to suggest improvements for production process” (Industrial Technician).
“We have also noted that the possibility for workers to test themselves in different tasks highlights their capability to work better in some backgrounds more than in others , gives them more gratification and increases their productivity” (Production Scheduler and Team Leader).
A well-organized, clean and dynamic environment, where a person can do his best in terms of efficiency and efficacy is therefore our first lean target.
SME NA Inc.
1404 King St N, Box 154,
St Jacobs, Ontario, N0B 2N0, Canada
PHONE +1 519 591-0965