Seeing lean at work
Y-12 Lean Six Sigma recently hosted a visit to the DENSO Manufacturing Athens Tennessee, Inc. to see lean tools and principles in action.
Josh McDaniel of Lean Six Sigma said, “We looked for ideas on how we could apply their use of lean tools to our work. DENSO’s plant employs more than 1, 500 and is a supplier to some of the top automobile manufacturers in the world, with one of those being the Toyota Manufacturing Company, the model we chose to base our Performance Enterprise System on.”
Meghan Lovelace of the Oak Ridge Metrology Center said, “From the moment we entered the building, you could tell that DENSO runs lean. I liked the management boards posted in the various work areas. It was a great way to keep lines of communication open between workers on the line and supervisors.”
Infrastructure’s Brandon Peters said, “Lean is a vision and journey that takes time, but results in great teamwork. We saw the importance of taking the consideration and thoughts from the folks doing the jobs and then implementing them.”
“One thing that really impressed me was how they incorporated 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain) in to all parts of their operations,” Tony Beal of Production Support said. “Seeing the 5S sign as you are entering the visitors’ parking lot made me realize that it is not just something that they do, but something that is part of who they are.”
McDaniel said, “It was evident at the heart of DENSO’s lean culture was employee involvement. Just like our PES lean approach, none of this works without empowering people to drive change. This trip gave us opportunity to brainstorm areas of new applicability to use the lean methodologies at CNS.”