BWA plant tour focus groups concentrate on continuous improvement, and allow members to share and learn from their challenges and successes while building important industry networks! 18 BWA manufacturing members from across the cluster region participated in the October 23, 2014 event hosted by Homestead Woodworks.
I have been told by some industry members that they learn the most from plant tours: by seeing another manufacturing facility and looking for those opportunities to learn and take ideas away to improve their own operations.
BWA takes this another step further by facilitating the event through a structured problem solving process and involving visiting members to share ideas and suggestions on a challenge the host is experiencing.
The BWA’s Plant Tour Focus Group October 23, 2014 hosted by Homestead Woodworks in Hawkesville was another example of the cluster engaging in this activity.
The challenge that Homestead posed to the group is a result of there product variation, and the need to accurately track labour through their various processes in production. This helps to accurately price custom jobs to remain profitable.
The group enjoyed a presentation by Homestead Woodworks President Clare Martin on their business model and core competencies, and challenges, followed by a plant tour. This culminated in a dynamic debrief and exchange of ideas and suggestions that brought value both ways: to the host and to the visiting companies.
Some examples of ideas discussed and suggested included themes such as: labour tracking strategies, workspace design and 5S, carts for product kitting, warehousing strategies, managing warranty parameters with contractors, cross-training, managing flow with external suppliers, tools such as tiger stop, toggle.com, time tree, and scheduling strategies among others.
These events continue to add value for manufacturing members that traveled from the far ends of the cluster region to participate.
If you are a wood product manufacturer and you would like more information on the BWA, contact us at [email protected]