Concrete Products

FEB 2017

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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Page 55 of 95

54 • February 2017 FEATURE SMITH-MIDLAND/J-J HOOKS The first step of a model cell is to apply the basic Lean principal of 5S. This is a systematic improvement process engaging the team in the acts of sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing and sus- taining a highly organized and clean workspace. The ongoing success of the model cell is achieved by using two techniques: the "daily huddle" and "visual management." In the former, team members gather in front of a metric board containing an array of visual sta- tistical data to audit the current status of their efforts. Every barrier poured (of the average 50 per day) is recorded and scored in areas including safety, quality, man hours applied, materials used and tar- geted delivery schedules kept. Anomalies, successes and failures are easily seen using the visual management techniques. Solutions are discussed, and action plans devised using proven problem solving measures. Some of the issues expose systematic weaknesses within the larger company leading into the cell's process, or supporting or following it. Issues are dis- cussed with management, which in turn makes needed adjustments or designates new teams to solve them. One model cell can have multiple positive impacts on the processes of other departments and management teams, Smith-Midland management finds, affecting the overall success of the organization. Within just a few weeks of starting the model cell, a vast array of improvements began to take shape at Smith-Midland. The concrete mix was tested and adjusted, and mold improvements were made, greatly decreasing barrier surface quality issues. Tools and techniques were changed, allowing for one less operation needed in the process and fewer materials. Barrier defects were soon reduced from 68 per- cent to 15 percent; manhours per barrier decreased 14 percent. The barrier model cell is an ongoing Lean process that will contin- ue to eliminate waste, increase production, and ultimately benefit the company, team members and customers, Smith-Midland officials affirm. In addition to leaders Cesar Montiel and Raul Franco, they credit the J-J Hooks model cell success to team members including Will Guevara, Victor Garcia, David Rodriguez, Javier Mares, Miguel Humana, Carlos Canãs, and Eduardo Portillo. A recent installation demonstrates improvements in J-J Hooks bar- rier surface characteristics attributable to adoption of lean manu- facturing methods.

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