The MEDRAD packaging team worked 685 hours of overtime in 2007 and 443 hours in 2008. In addition, two temporary employees were needed each year to keep up with the workload. Overtime and expenditures on temporaries totaled $40,000 in 2007 and 2008.
In early 2009, Shawn Simpson, a Six Sigma Green Belt and process analyst and leader in the packaging area, assembled the Critical Elements improvement team to try to rein in these costs.
Looking for the “critical elements that lead to major improvements,” the team followed MEDRAD’s trademarked continuous improvement methodology, IMAGES®:
Identify the problem
Measure the current state
Analyze the root causes
Generate potential solutions
Experiment and then Execute proven solutions
Sustain improvements over time
During the early phases of the project, quality tools like an affinity diagram, time studies, and process mapping helped reveal areas for improvement. Solutions focused on reducing waste in staff time spent obtaining parts, putting parts away and moving parts to storage locations, working on the computer, and conducting necessary SAP (systems applications and products in data processing) system transactions.
The improvements the Critical Elements team implemented had the following tangible results:
Reductions in waste and non-value-added steps also contributed to improved customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.
Along with providing many benefits to MEDRAD, the Critical Elements project was a finalist in the 2010 ASQ International Team Excellence Award process.
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