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How to Apply the 5S Methodology in Production

How to Apply the 5S Methodology in Production

For over 40 years Tekdata has been providing wiring solutions to the changing markets in Aerospace, Defence, Industrial Electronics and Deep Space. As these markets have changed in terms of technology, so the methods utilised within production have had to evolve. Dependant on which sector the business operates in, the ‘power house’ of the business namely production has to be able to cope with the demands that the market place places on them in areas such as quality, industry standards and competitiveness. Today’s modern production facilities have to have the flexibility and knowledge in its work force to be able to respond to multiple sector requirements at any one time.

In line with this Tekdata is constantly evolving its production processes and people, as any 21st manufacturing company should. What drives production is a spirit of continuous improvement in all areas of manufacturing and through the utilisation of trusted production methods this has created a culture of excellence in manufacturing. Utilised heavily throughout Tekdata the 5S methodology underpins the manufacturing processes. 5S relates to workplace organisation and forms a solid foundation upon which many organisations base their drive for continuous improvement. It is a systematic and methodical approach allowing teams to organise their workplace in the safest and most efficient manner.

Through the implementation of 5S Tekdata are seeing benefits in:

The culture – Employees gain a sense of ownership, involvement & responsibility
Reduction in waste
Improved performance in productivity, quality & morale leads to increased profitability
Tekdata take the spirit of continuous improvement very seriously and within the production facilities there is a meeting room that is dedicated to looking at key production metrics. Step in through the door and pin boards showing the key production figures for the business surround you. Every morning team leaders gather to look at the figures that show how the business is doing in terms of production. They focus in on areas that need attention and this focus gives Tekdata the agility to continually optimise and improve its manufacturing techniques and performance.

Having methodologies and measurement plans in place is only part of the story. In reality it is the people that make the business. Everyone involved within production at Tekdata is a vital link in the manufacturing chain and Tekdata places real emphasis on ensuring that employees’ needs are met in terms of the work environment and the knowledge they need. This culture has led to very low levels of staff churn, which has a direct effect on the business as the knowledge needed to ensure that production operates smoothly is retained. What’s more Tekdata are experiencing well below the national average in terms of sick days, which can be directly attributed to the culture within the workplace.

The markets that Tekdata operate in also have a direct effect on the techniques and quality that is needed in production. In-depth knowledge of the latest standards that need to be applied in these markets is not only desired but paramount. For example if harnesses are being manufactured for the space industry then they have to be manufactured in accordance with industry standard and conditions. Tekdata have in house trainers and staff that are qualified against the leading space agencies requirements for manufacturing.

Another area of focus and improvement for Tekdata is in the field of IPC-620 accreditation. This standard is widely accepted by the electronics community and governs certain aspects of cable harness manufacture and quality. Looked for as standard by customers, Tekdata have in house staff that have IPC training accreditation which allows them to train relevant production operatives in the standards that apply to the products that they are producing.
Certification in this industry-approved and traceable program clearly demonstrates Tekdata’s commitment to continuous improvement of product quality and reliability.

“Here at Tekdata we adopt a customer first mentality when it comes to manufacturing” states Gary Tomlinson, Production Manager at Tekdata. “All of our staff are empowered to take control of their job and feel as if they are playing their role in making a real difference for our customers. All of the methodology used is not just measurement for measurements sake, its vital if we are to realise our strategic objectives of offering products on time every time with zero defects. What’s more our commitment to manufacturing against demanding international standards clearly demonstrates to our customers that we have the knowledge and experience to be their supplier of choice.”

Covering 40,000 ft² the production facility at Tekdata represents the embodiment of a fit for purpose 21st Century manufacturing facility. However, the words on the page are only a written example of some of the aspect of what the company does. If you would like to see it for yourself we would welcome visitors to the facility, so feel free to get in touch you will be assured of a warm welcome in the heart of Stoke on Trent!

Article first published : 8/8/2014

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