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                                      using 2 Second Lean as a guide, and then taking them out to the shop floor and asking them to stand there and look for the eight types of waste. “With- in 10 minutes, they typically see 20 to 50 wastes,” Sitton says.
The company also gives employees time on the clock to read 2 Second Lean and to discuss the book in a team set- ting, encouraging employees to “go and see” waste and to develop remedies for eliminating waste in their work areas. This expectation reflects a sig- nificant transition from Cambridge’s initial lean efforts, when senior leaders and engineers usually initiated lean improvements.
“That idea only works for owners of the company,” says Sitton. “We real- ized that we needed more people who buy into the culture. Now we develop people with a sense of trust, who are able to see waste and fix what’s bug- ging them, and they now respond as owners.”
Fast Start for New Employees
New employees are encouraged to jump right into lean improvements at Cambridge. Justin Meade, a general laborer who works on wiring panels, says he got started with lean during his first week nearly three years ago.
“When I first started an assembly job, it wasn’t very fun,” says Meade. “Then, after seeing some of the others’ videos, I started on improvements— first a small project, putting tools that were scattered all over onto a shadow board.” Over a period of six months, Meade developed a cart furnished with parts, plus a trash can and tools needed to eliminate wasted movement and space during his daily tasks. He made videos of several improvement itera- tions, modifying and later eliminating the old cart. Along the way, he got help from a sheetmetal team member, a welder and others in creating a new cart. Now, tools and parts are in one area.
“It used to take an hour-and-a-half to do a particular job. Now the process takes 20 to 25 minutes per unit,” says Meade. “I just went ahead with it, after
talking with my team lead, Scott Moore, who encouraged me to make the changes.”
Meade says he continues to gain improvement ideas and inspiration from participation in morning employ- ee meetings. “I like that everyone here is updated about how the company is doing financially,” he says. “We’re also encouraged to give input on company goals.”
Cultivating the Culture
Attracting potential employees who will support the Cambridge collabo- rative approach is crucial to the com- pany’s long-term success, says Meg Brown, human resources director. “We attract people who enjoy being prob- lem solvers, and being given the ability to make changes,” she says. “This gives us a huge competitive advantage in this tight labor market.”
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