No. 30 - February 2014


Learning from industry leaders: continuous improvement best practices featured during FPInnovations’ Lean Mission


A diverse group of more than 24 wood products manufacturers and industry suppliers from across Canada joined FPInnovations on a Lean Mission in Toronto and Winnipeg in October. The mission was organized for participants to see, learn, and share innovative technologies, processes, and manufacturing best practices.

”Most apparent on the tour was no matter what type of business or volume of revenue generated, lean manufacturing practices can be implemented for any type of business,” said tour participant Darcy Johnson from CMI, in Saskatoon. Darcy continued, “One key tour point of interest was the amount of statistical tracking information that was shared with any employees who wanted to know how their companies were doing. Revenue, production, company safety records, and much more were displayed. I believe this kind of information sharing boosts employee morale because they feel more connected with the company.” Since the tour, Darcy says his company has been brainstorming about better ways to organize their shop, implement a job board, and track production.

Click here to see a video from Dynamic Architectural Windows on how it is improving employee engagement and boosting productivity.

Today, many wood products manufacturers are already sold on the potential benefits experienced from applying continuous improvement (CI) manufacturing principles. Despite this knowledge, the majority of manufacturers are not realizing the full benefit available to them, according to FPInnovations’ Member Relations Manager, Roland Baumeister.

Simply defined, lean manufacturing is a method of doing more with less. The lean production approach is known best for producing high-quality products in less time and at a lower cost. For more than seven years, FPInnovations has been working with a variety of wood products manufacturers in implementing lean principles.

Click here to see a video from Mitsui Homes on how it is using lean principles to become even more competitive.

For tour participants, learning and seeing first-hand how successful companies were implementing CI was the primary purpose of attending the mission. The wood products industry can learn from other sectors, and having the chance to ask questions and see implementation techniques was the highlight of the tour.

“The tour was particularly valuable to see how other businesses are dealing with common manufacturing issues,” said Reg Tucker, General Manager of Viceroy Homes. “There were many things we took away from the mission and the one point that stands out to me was the importance of communication with your supervisors, production staff, and customers. If you get the optimum from the first two you will get the optimum from your customer.”

Click here to see a video from Viceroy Homes on how it is reducing training time and costs, and bringing new workers up to speed quicker.

Do you want more lean manufacturing information? An excellent place to start is by reading The Machine that Changed the World by James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos.

To learn more about lean manufacturing and to read about more lean manufacturing success stories, visit the Solutions for Wood Web site.




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