Most manufacturing organizations have a strategic plan – a set of goals and actions essential to achieve those goals. These typically span a three-to-five-year period. Plant managers and directors periodically review and update the “Strat Plan” to confirm the company is on the right path. The goals in this plan are deemed to be the most important and defining objectives within the organization.
But does everyone in the organization know these goals? Are there resources working on tasks that are not as important as those supporting the Strat Plan? Even worse, is it possible that anyone is working on objectives that are contrary to the Strat Plan?
Strategic policy deployment, often referred to as Hoshin Kanri, is a methodology that is used to address these concerns. This proven technique minimizes waste and optimizes organizational effectiveness by ensuring that everyone in the organization is united in working towards the same central objectives.
BOMAG USA, headquartered in Ridgeway, SC began using strategic policy deployment in 2018. It is proving to be an indispensable tool in aligning their entire workforce to achieve their most important goals. On May 10, 2022, BOMAG shared their progress with the OpExChange in a plant visit and benchmarking session. Brady Umberger, Director of Operations for BOMAG, provided an operational overview of their site, shared their strategic deployment process, and demonstrated examples on the plant floor.
BOMAG chose Ridgeway in Fairfield County as their North American headquarters for many reasons. Brady stated that the partnerships with South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, South Carolina Department of Commerce, technical colleges, and economic developers were “huge” factors in this selection. South Carolina is unparalleled in its dedication to workforce development and supporting industries to be successful. In addition, Fairfield County provides excellent logistical connectivity through highway infrastructure, railway, and close proximity to the Port of Charleston.
Strategic Deployment and X-Matrix
Brady stated that the key element in strategic deployment at all levels is the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle that is the backbone of a lean manufacturing program. He emphasized the “Act” portion of the process and added that “unless we are taking daily, weekly, and monthly actions that are all geared toward those goals we are not going to get there.” Brady walked the group through the seven steps of strategic deployment and how they are aligning five key corporate objectives with both the five-year goals at their site and with 2022 tactical objectives.
A fundamental lean tool BOMAG uses in this process is the “X-Matrix.” This template succinctly captures BOMAG’s strategic plan with their goals, initiatives, and owners on a single A3 sized paper. By using this visual tool to collaborate, they literally get the entire organization on the same “page” toward achieving their plan.
From the X-Matrix, each 2022 key initiative drills down to a separate project plan in a GANTT chart format that includes project leader, individual tasks, and task owners.
In the ensuing plant tour, Brady demonstrated several examples of communication of the Strat Plan along with demonstrations of actions supporting the initiatives.
Plant Tour – Daily Formation
The first stop on the plant tour occurred at their communication center on the plant floor. This is where BOMAG conducts their daily formation with the team and tactically aligns the days activity with the production plan. Along with daily calisthenics and safety discussion, the group addresses anything that might impact the plan as well as recognizing employees for performance and accomplishments. A standard work document provides the framework for conducting not only the daily meeting but also the periodic meetings held weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.
Electronic Work Instructions
One of the key 2022 initiatives from the X-matrix is to develop work instructions for the Paver assembly line. Brady demonstrated their progress on the plant tour. This was an impressive application developed in-house using Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Visual Basic. Each employee now has a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet used to drill-down to process control sheets coupled with visual work instructions. The system incorporates a failsafe that will not allow the associate to check-off completion without accessing the work instruction. This system also captures timestamp that will be used for cycle time analytics. The application of this in-house system rivals that of some subscription-based software systems on the market.
Creative Space Solutions
Two examples were shown that freed-up floorspace and rack capacity. One application incorporated a vertical endcap on a rack that allowed vertical storage of twenty-foot hoses. The other application involved moving forklift charger stations to the ends of other racks. This freed-up valuable space that is now used for first-article inspection. PDCA/KATA Creation
Robert Slusser is the supervisor over the Paver assembly line. He is the owner of an initiative to create a KATA, or structure for continuous improvement, utilizing the PDCA cycle. This initiative will support two higher level goals involving efficiency and quality. Robert shared his project plan, the work in progress, and plans for improvement. Notable activities on his project plan were to visit and benchmark with three other OpExChange companies.
One of the predominant themes for all OpExChange companies is that of continuous improvement – always looking to improve products, processes, services, safety, and engagement. BOMAG demonstrated in this visit that their commitment to this is real and tangible. The visitors on the tour remarked on the impressive visual orderliness and safety culture at their site as evidence of improvements already made. BOMAG’s commitment to utilizing strategic deployment as a guiding tool for these programs will undoubtedly take them to new heights.
BOMAG is the world market leader in the field of compaction technology and manufacturer of machines for the compaction of soil, asphalt, and refuse. Stabilizers/Recyclers, milling machines and pavers round off their portfolio. BOMAG USA in Ridgeway, SC has an established service center, assembly plant, reconstruction operation, and a spare parts warehouse.
The OpExChange, sponsored by the SCMEP, is a peer-to-peer network of companies in South Carolina known for generating success for members through benchmarking and best practices activities. Member companies host events and share practical examples of industrial automation, lean manufacturing improvements, and leadership development. It is an invaluable resource to South Carolina companies that provides access to others who are on similar improvement journeys. If you are interested in joining, contact Mike Demos (Mike@OpExChange.com) or visit the OpExChange website to see current companies: https://www.scmep-online.org/pages/memberlisting
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