Helping nation’s largest manufactured home builder on lean journey
How A Change in Latitude Consulting (ACIL) provided continuous improvement training and coaching to the nation’s leading builder of modular and manufactured homes.
The nation’s leading building of modular and manufactured homes reached out to A Change in Latitude Consulting for help in beginning a lean journey that could transform the way the company operated. The customer has multiple sites in the United States and one of those sites was chosen to jumpstart their lean journey. The company chose ACIL because we have consultants with more than twenty years of experience helping organizations leverage lean to transform the way they operate. Our consultant worked with the client to establish a unique approach to the engagement that included weekly onsite training sessions that had a mix of classroom instruction and time spent “on the floor” working with participants to leverage what they learned to improve operations.
The client was working hard to keep up with the increased demand for their homes due to the red-hot housing market. The high quality of the client’s products, combined with hot housing market meant demand was outpacing the company’s ability to build homes. The site general manager had some experience with lean and felt it could be used to improve operations and increase manufacturing capacity to better meet customer demand. If the client could reduce the time it took to build a home by just a few hours, they could increase the number of homes built (and sold) by several houses a month.
ACIL’s consultant started by meeting with the general manager and his leadership team to determine the culture of the site and customize the lean curriculum to meet their needs. It was determined that training would be conducted once a week over an eight-week period. During the first few sessions, time was spent in the classroom learning topics such as continuous improvement fundamentals, the history of lean, 8 wastes and lean principles.
After the first few sessions, the ACIL consultant adjusted the approach, each session then was comprised of approximately an hour of classroom instruction followed by the remainder of the session spent in the facility coaching participants to make improvements leveraging the material discussed in the classroom. This included “going to gemba” to see what was happening on the floor and using process mapping to map out the current state of one of the departments to identify opportunities. Once the team identified improvement opportunities, they leveraged lean principles to make improvements, resulting in vast reductions in processing time. In addition, the team leveraged 5s to improve the functionality and cleanliness of the same department and put into place 5s audits and audible signals to improve cleanliness as well as safety.
This approach resulted in one department becoming the “showcase” of the site. Employees in that department were a part of all the changes, increasing engagement as well as ownership of the changes. Employees in the department where the changes were made were proud of the work they had done; other departments wanted the same thing done in their departments. This “pull” for lean is leveraged by our consultants because a “pull” is always preferred over leadership “pushing” lean on employees. The site continues to make improvements in various departments on a consistent basis and has expressed that the training and coaching has been transformational to the organization and may soon leverage A Change in Latitude Consulting to roll out lean to other sites across North America.