As part of a focused commitment to lean manufacturing principles, Ariens Company employees recently conducted the 1,000th kaizen event aimed at reducing waste within the operation. This milestone represents participation by 665 employees for total work hours of about 280,000 since 2001.
A kaizen event is a week-long exercise that involves a group of employees evaluating a single process using lean tools to understand the current state of the process, eliminate non-value-added efforts and establish a new model for standard work. An individual kaizen event at Ariens usually lasts one week. Currently, the company conducts multiple kaizen events every other week throughout the year.
“This has truly been an employee-driven process. The effort and energy that has gone into 1,000 kaizen events is incredible,” says Dan Ariens, company president. “Employees have not only created a culture of continuous improvement, they have sustained it.”
Currently, more than 150 employees have participated in 10 or more events.
Results on the business can be measured in very real terms, according to Ariens. The company has experienced an annual 15 percent productivity gain on average since implementing lean management principles in 1999. Company sales have more than doubled in the same timeframe and the company has also reduced costs and improved quality and delivery times.
Visit www.ariens.com for more information.