In late 2013, a cross-functional team of managers, floor team members and engineers met at our stainless steel wheel nut manufacturing facility in Royal Oak, MI. They discussed plans for moving a third of their operation four miles away to newly acquired factory floor space in Troy, Michigan. The team discussed their desire to make this new factory a great place to work. They designed the layout of the new plant to minimize wastes such as waiting, motion and transportation. The team also discussed how the layout would affect the factory’s ability to stay organized and clean. Soon after the team’s plans were finalized, equipment started moving into the new factory and within a few months, the plant was full of machines, inventory, and people. New light fixtures brightly lit the fresh paint on the walls, ceiling, machines, and floors. The plant looked great.
A few years have passed since moving into the factory. Troy has stamped over 500,000,000 stainless steel parts, assembled over 80,000,000 wheel fasteners, and shipped product to customers around the world. With those large production volumes come many thousands of tons of scrap metal, tens of thousands of gallons of lubricants, dust from millions of nut bodies, dirt brought into the plant from thousands of semi-trucks and many other sources. Instead of becoming dirty and disorganized, the factory has become cleaner and more organized than it was upon first moving in. Achieving this feat was not simple, though the Troy team made it look easy.
The following factors and activities have helped the Troy team to be successful at keeping the operation organized and clean:
1. Teamwork – Working together for a common purpose and helping each other through cross-functional collaboration has proven to be a keystone to Troy’s success.
2. Leadership – Leadership is very effective at Troy, both formal (designated managers and leaders) and informal (those who lead by example or mentor others without having defined leadership roles). Troy’s formal leadership encourages informal leadership.
3. Ownership – Setting expectations and ensuring that team members know what they are supposed to do enables team members to take responsibility within the operation.
4. Effective Planning – Planning the factory with space for needed items and positioning equipment to reduce wastes (including walking), and providing enough capacity, gives team members time to maintain the equipment.
5. Eliminate Dirt at the Source – Finding, fixing and containing root causes of oil leaks, dirt, and scrap on the floors keeps the plant clean.
6. Provide Support for Improvement Ideas – Offering incentives for ideas to make the factory more organized and clean keeps the team motivated to address problems as they arise.
7. Audits – The Troy team is provided feedback and coaching in a timely manner. Results of their efforts are quantified with peer and manager audits. Team members take turns auditing each other in preparation for weekly manager audits. After the audits, constructive face-to-face feedback is provided.
8. Recognition – Troy’s leaders recognize individual and team efforts when audit expectations are met or exceeded. Success is celebrated monthly.
Troy’s ICOP (Stamping) Department