BWA’s Plant Tour Focus Groups Create Value for Members and Hosts!

Bogdon & Gross hosted BWA’s April Plant Tour Focus Group with an exercise for Continuous Improvement! Read on to learn more!

The Bluewater Wood Alliance conducts regular facilitated plant tour focus groups where members get to see and experience another wood manufacturing operations while also focusing on a challenge that the host is experiencing to drive waste out of their process.

These events begin with a review of Lean Principles, the Value Stream Map, and how they apply to the various wastes in production and some of the Lean Tools used to reduce that waste.

This is followed by a presentation by the host on their business model and their processes, followed by the introduction of a challenge they are facing. The group then goes out to the shop floor for a focussed tour where the challenge manifests, followed by debrief and discussion.

BWA Members Debrief following tour of B&G (not all shown)

BWA Members Debrief following tour of B&G (not all shown).

Like most all of us in manufacturing, creating and sustaining Flow is a constant moving target. This Flow gets interrupted with interloping changes in product skews and specifications. This was the challenge posed by Bogdon & Gross with some of their interloping parts.

Bogdon & Gross came away with 7 options to solve their problem. Visiting members were able to learn from the logic and strategic thinking behind the solutions to apply to their own operations.The following is a summary of some of the themes discussed.

  • Make to order vs. Stocked part strategies
  • Focus on internal core competencies
  • Internal building layout opportunities
  • Job sharing/Cross training strategies
  • Talent balancing
  • “Parking lot” inventory vs. “Supermarket”
  • Carting and kitting of parts
  • Dedicated re-allocation of machines/resources
  • CNC Utilization
  • Design opportunities to reduce unnecessary variety
  • Outsourcing strategies
  • Use of Value Stream Mapping and Spaghetti diagrams
  • Use of other lean resources and tools and making them fit your business
Many thanks to Bogdon & Gross for hosting this event! Our next plant tour focus group is scheduled for May 29, hosted by West Bros Furniture.
If you are a wood products manufacturer in Southwestern Ontario and would like to participate in these Focus Groups, find out how to become a member! Contact BWA Manager Mike Baker: [email protected]
If you are a supplier or service provider to this sector, there is also an Associate Member status. Contact us to find out more!