Reversing policy has Maple moving forward with business improvement approach.
Here at Maple, there’s one thing we get asked about all the time. And it has nothing to do with the design of architectural façades or the physics of weather louvres.
It’s parking. Every vehicle is reversed into its parking spot... and every client, architect or supplier who visits our factory wants to know why.
Believe it or not, our parking policy is one of the most visible examples of Maple’s 5S approach to business improvement.
Based on the five Japanese words of Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardise and Sustain, the approach is helping us reduce waste, streamline production, improve quality and enhance safety.
Parking falls into the category of Straighten (naturally).
“5S is about workplace organisation and, yes, a lot of it is common sense,” says RKMS consultant Brian Butler, who is helping Maple implement 5S methodology, and supporting factory and office staff as they work toward a Level Two NVQ in business improvement techniques.
“Take reverse parking, for example. It’s about health and safety, obviously, so you don’t reverse out into a passing fork-lift truck or a walking passer-by.
“But it’s something people notice. They’re thinking, ‘there’s a real sense of organisation here, this is a disciplined company, these are people I want to business with’. And that’s all before they walk into the factory and meet the people.”
Inside the factory, we’re continuing the Straighten theme by creating improved storage areas and clearer labelling to identify equipment and stock. Brian added: “Already you can see a more logical flow; things are where they should be, and people waste less time looking for things.”
Measurement is next on our 5S implementation agenda, as we look at documenting and assessing the commercial impact of actioned initiatives.