ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - May 2001


Behind the Teams: We've provided you with the tools and resources that will help you in your fight to keep team efforts alive, to build a greater sense of community and unity in your organization.
Click here to check it out!

  In This Issue...

A Purpose And A Place
Do Upper Managers Earn Their Keep?
Pageturners: Effective Training Strategies
Proof Positive
Brief Cases

 One From Column B —
My Kingdom for a Team

Peter Block explores the durability of teams and why they remain fascinating after all these years.

  Behind the Teams:

Just What the Doctor Ordered
In Support of Teams
Cynthia Minor and Mike Levenhagen

Highlights of Winning Teams
Views For A Change
Pam Walsh's Unofficial Quality Tips

Return to NFC Index

  Special Feature: Behind the Teams


Highlights of Winning Teams

Blitzing for the Bronze

How do you tackle a tough issue as quickly as possible? The Hardware Assembly Kaizen Team of Solectron Technology will tell you: It’s easy, bombard it with a blitz. The team effectively used the Kaizen blitz process to address hardware assembly problems they were experiencing. In a one-week period, they redefined the process and layout for a printed circuit board hardware assembly area, improving productivity by 46 percent, reducing floor space needs by two thirds and reducing the incidence of rejects by 50 percent.

Tools You Can Use
Solectron began receiving complaints from their external customer, Lucent Technologies, about defects they were finding in shipments mostly related to the assembly of printed circuit board hardware. “We were asked by the director of operations what we could do and we said that we’d love to come down and use this new methodology we were working on,” says Jeff Porada, the team’s facilitator. “Basically the Kaizen blitz is a one-week event using a lean manufacturing tool to try and reduce waste and improve quality.”

  Before any project takes off, a project charter is developed to narrow in on the scope. “If we’re going to go in there with a team we can’t just take on the entire value stream,” says Porada. “We’ve got to break it down. We need to make sure that the area we select makes improvements to the bottom line and to the customer.”

  The Hardware Assembly Kaizen Team, a team of 15 people representing different levels and different operations in the organization, used their limited time to research problems and take action. Using several tools, from spaghetti diagrams and process mapping to gripe interviews, the team uncovered root causes, areas to reduce waste and opportunities to begin improvements. The team followed the flow of materials and information, and listened to a flood of ideas and suggestions. “This gave everyone an opportunity to go out there. Even though somebody on the manufacturing floor wasn’t asked to be part of the team, they were fully involved with our approach because they were providing input,” says Porada. “We spent about 50 percent of our time on the manufacturing floor and we implemented several things very quickly.”

All in a Week’s Time?
“Yes and no,” says Porada. “It’s a full week when we have the Kaizen blitz. The team is operating 8-10 hours a day for a week and they are fully committed to the team project. It’s great because the fact that we have people fully committed for a full week prevents us from the need to go back and review what happened before.

  “What we don’t finish in that first week we put on the 30-day action plan. The team meets on a weekly basis to go over the things we’ve done and what we need to follow up on.”

  Like the other winning teams, their efforts would not be possible without the total support and commitment that begins at the top and flows down to every person in the organization.

  Now if there were only more hours in a day.

  Porada says his biggest frustration is the lack of time. One way the team addresses time constraints is by spending fewer hours in meetings. “If we sat in a conference room and just talked about improvement, our energy level would be devastating. But if we get the people out on the floor and start taking action—and people see their ideas actually being done—everything comes to life,” emphasizes Porada.

Life After
Once a new methodology to Solectron, the Kaizen blitz has proved its credibility and is now being promoted and encouraged to other managers and teams in the company. “The team is now able to do twice as much work with the same amount of workforce. Additionally the process addressed 100 percent of all safety concerns. The biggest gain was the involvement and motivation of the employees. “It takes more than one to make a difference,” says team member and process engineer, Jenny Porter. Fellow team member and manufacturing manager Winifred Taylor adds, “We are more confident and enthusiastic about making change in the workplace.”

Bronze Winner: Hardware Assembly Kaizen Team, Solectron Technology, Charlotte, N.C.

Members: Barry Bickley, Lavonia Bradley, Ray Hanson, Dee Masterson, Jeff Porada, Jenny Porter, Winifred Taylor, William Vanover

Project: Redefine the process and layout for a printed-circuit board hardware assembly area

Bottom line: A 46% productivity improvement, reduced floor space needs by two-thirds and reduced the incidence of rejects by 50%.

Gold winners

Silver winners


May 2001Homepage



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