Well, it’s been just over three months into our Journey to Lean in 2017!  Time is really flying!  You’ve seen our recent post on how we’ve taken our inspiration from Fastcap and how important we feel it is to share Lean ideas and inspire each other.  So it has been wonderful to share what we’ve been doing with you all.  And it’s even nicer when you also get in touch!  And in that vein, we want to share with you a few of the Lean ideas and experiences that have been shared with us so far!

What Lean ideas have been shared with Stokes & Rowe?

Education Sector

We have had some Lean improvements shared with us from the engineering team at Harlow College in Essex.  The college has recently invested a substantial amount of money in state of the art machinery at their brand new, purpose built advanced manufacturing and engineering centre.  And if this wasn’t exciting enough, the team have been reading our blog and have set the centre up with Lean in mind.  Management are using Kanban boards to help with their work flow.  Lean ideasEvery drawer for every new student has been set up with kaizen foam and  essential tooling.  This has even extended to the office!  As a sector with a massive skills gap, we are thrilled to hear that such investment has gone into encouraging young people back into engineering.  And the fact that they will be learning their new skills alongside Lean ideas and techniques will set these young engineers of tomorrow in really good stead for the manufacturing world!  Well done Harlow College!

Stokes & Rowe have also had some fantastic suggestions from Tom,  head of the engineering team, in regards to using QR codes to collate and manage our videos and work instructions for each of our jobs.  This is something that Tom is already using to manage access to his students’ profiles and coursework.  It has been saving him lots of time and we definitely like the sound of that!  So this is something that we are now in the process of implementing.  Look out for updates on how this is going soon!

Manufacturing Sector

Karl, who is a warehouse operative, has also been following our Lean journey and has now embarked on his own!  He has been making lots of fantastic improvements to his workstation.  And it’s been easy to keep up to date with his Lean ideas as he happens to work next door to us!  Lean ideasAfter reading our post on the impact that rearranging the layout of our assembly bench had on our tap output, Karl rearranged his own bench.  Like us, he was previously reaching to the back of his bench for frequently used components.  But he has now brought them all forward within easy reach.  He’s also used some wood to angle them towards him for quick access.  Karl has even used some discarded packaging to make a DIY slide rail for his trays.  Their order on his workstation is now interchangeable with minimal time and effort.  We will definitely be borrowing this idea!  Karl has also set up a shadow board for all of his tooling.  We look forward to seeing what improvements are next on the cards…

We’ve also been contacted by another UK company who have been ‘going Lean’ for the past year.  Pippa at Cole Fabrics was also inspired by Fastcap and has been actively implementing Lean within the company ever since with lots of success.  Pippa has given us some invaluable guidence on how we can move forward with Lean at Stokes & Rowe and has been kind enough to share her ideas on implementing and formatting the morning meeting, something that we are very keen to get underway with.  And Pippa has even shown one of our Lean improvement videos at her own morning meetings!

Get in touch!

The reaction to the blog has been amazing!  We’ve found that there are so many individuals and companies who are also travelling their own Lean journies.  We’d love any suggestions you have for us or just to hear how you’re getting on!  So pop us an email to say hi.  You can get in touch using our contact form or via the Stokes & Rowe website.  We’d love to exchange some Lean ideas with you!

Happy Manufacturing!

Rob, Nicola and the Team