Back in November (it seems so long ago now) I was sitting at my desk, in my office at Time 24; hacking away at a CRM application I was developing for the sales department when my manager came in and told me I was going on a two day course… “Great!” I said. “What’s it all about?” At the time I was hoping it would be a tasty little Microsoft Certification or something along those lines. He proceeded to tell me it was a Lean Manufacturing course; Something to do with one of our customers.
Eventually, after following a trail of clues I found out that it was a Lean initiative, sponsored by Farnborough Aerospace Consortium involving us (Time 24 Ltd), one of our customers and a gaggle of our suppliers. We make and install wiring looms in our customer’s finished product and in order to get the costs down they (with our help) wanted to drive Lean thinking throughout the supply chain, all the way down to the guys who make the wire and connectors. To me at the time a completely bizarre and yet genius concept.
I had heard the word “Lean” banded around at Time 24 a few times before but had absolutely no idea what was involved in arriving at this state of Lean (see the obvious error in my thinking?). From what I hear, the company in the past has had many successful stabs at the lean world and I can see now where lean principals were clearly applied before I started working for the firm. Although the word Lean had not been used for a while, there was obviously always a culture for continuous improvement.
As it happens, the training course/initiative was a little more than just two days. It was in fact a five day training course in two parts spread over the Christmas period (a convenient homework break mid course!) followed by a fully supported step change event.
The course was run by a firm called TBi, who I would recommend to anyone. These guys are really good and more than happy to get their hands dirty! They also supported us throughout our (and our customer and supplier’s) change event.
That’s the introduction out of the way. I’ll get onto what we did in the course and our step change event in the coming posts. I hope what I’ve written so far gives you a little insight into where I’ve come from with Time 24 and where we’re going. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll try to get back to you as quickly as I can.