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A problem-solving culture drives Raymond Corp.

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On a sunny July morning, this industry week The editor is at Raymond Corporation in Greene, New York, which has both its headquarters and a large manufacturing facility. The manufacturer of forklift trucks will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2022. On this day, the spacious and airy building lobby is dominated by several impressive interactive exhibits showcasing the many historical milestones, people and innovations that have contributed to the company’s 100-year history. increase. Run. Clearly Raymond knows something about longevity.

The purpose of my visit is simple. A close look at the secrets behind Raymond’s stellar performances on the green factory floor. Performance is something that spans many metrics. The Greene site provides enviable first-pass quality yields, shows strong evidence of continuous improvement (e.g., double-digit reduction in OSHA recordable incidence), has low employee turnover, and Employee involvement is strong.

Additionally, it has demonstrated its ability to accomplish the even more difficult task of sustaining performance gains over time. that’s right, industry week On Raymond Corp.’s Greene site IW Best Plant Award Twice in 2018 and 2014.

What I learned during my visit is that the secret is not new technology, but certainly new technology being implemented on the factory floor. The Andon system is just one example. New systems that replace manual processes will enable better data collection and action on it.

Nor is the secret a continuous improvement guru competing single-handedly to execute excellent operations.

Instead, the secret turned out not to be a secret at all. Raymond Corp. CEO Michael Field puts it simply. “Like a bridge, we have to keep repairing it,” he explains. Presenting a challenge is letting it happen over and over again.

learning organization

Fundamentally, the Toyota Production System underpins the operations of Raymond’s vertically integrated green manufacturing sites. No surprise, considering Raymond is a Toyota Industries company.

At Greene’s site, strengthening the foundation is ‘always learning’ supported by a structured approach to continuous improvement. Additionally, Raymond works hard to involve all employees in these efforts, and the impact is evident on the factory floor. for example:

Greene has a strong improvement program on the shop floor, with over 6,100 improvement suggestions recorded in 2021, 94.5% of which have been implemented.

Kaizen is typically an individual effort by an employee to improve their own processes, and participation provides opportunities for financial rewards and improved personal performance evaluation. During my visit, the factory announced the Kaizen Award winners of the month. The CEO was one of her leaders in attendance at the Welding Division where the award was presented.

To hear more from Raymond and other IW Best Plant winners, visit Attend the Manufacturing & Technology Show October 18-20 in ClevelandAll four winners of this year’s awards are Join panel discussion Held on October 19, we discuss how we approach continuous improvement and strive for manufacturing excellence.

QCC (Quality Control Circle) expert Brandon Van Hoesen said:

Examples of improvement suggestions implemented at the Greene factory include relocating the tool board for more direct and convenient operator access, restructuring the assembly process to improve ergonomics, reducing emissions This includes working with suppliers on painting processes that lead to a reduction in

Kaizen is a structured process and so is the quality control circle. Unlike Kaizen, QCC is a small team-based group of hourly employees who work together to solve work area problems. While the facilitator is present, the group spontaneously learns problem-solving tools to deal with problems. They meet for a period of 30 minutes a week and follow an 8-step QCC process.

Interestingly, QCC’s main focus is what Raymond calls “human resource development.” So the maker’s goal is to develop a team of problem solvers.

“Enhancing employee knowledge” benefits both the individual and the company, says Field.

Raymond had 44 active quality control circles in 2021.

wait, there’s more

My visit began and ended with an ever-greater example of learning organization. In the morning, I visited Anzen Dojo. New employee training and retraining are held in a small glass room at the entrance of the factory. Similarly, the factory has an assembly dojo, where I met Dave Micha, who recently won a gold medal for his welding prowess at the Toyota Material Handling Group’s International Skills Competition. He was a line welder turned welding dojo trainer.

Suddenly, it’s 2:30 pm on the green, and Raymond’s daily 15-minute “Yuichi,” or afternoon meeting, begins in the morning market room. In rapid succession, the line manager and operations director take turns sharing updates on production results, discussing downtime issues, and adjusting build schedules as needed. They speak this outsider sounding like a strange language only they know. Similar he has a 15 minute meeting every morning. However, the focus of morning market meetings is to identify flaws and disruptions, not just root causes and countermeasures.

As a matter of fact, these gatherings are routine. And boom, just like they’re done, everyone moves on to the next step.

what’s next?

Innovations in the material handling industry have driven a century of growth for Raymond Corporation. Field CEOs make it clear that innovation is also the future of their companies. Green’s team is betting on a workforce of problem solvers to keep that vision alive.