Aztec Event Services is thinking big by behaving leaner, using lean management tools to change the workflows and organisation in its new workspace. With the acquisition of an additional unit at its Mitcham site on the horizon, Aztec decided to take the opportunity to review its processes and working practices to see if the company could improve turnaround times by changing to more of a production-line type process.
The company signed up with Fedden-USP to an NVQ Level 2 in Business Improvement Techniques (BITs), with Neil Fedden of Fedden-USP. This uses the same principles and values as the Toyota Production System (TPS), developed by the multinational company between the 1940s and 1970s. Despite being designed for a company with tens of thousands of employees, the TPS principles can apply to organisations of any size.
Aztec had a number of targets. These included increasing productivity, using space more efficiently, improving the organisation and the flow of equipment during preparation and booking in upon return and cutting any wasted journeys around the warehouse. Under the principles of the Toyota Production System, this all comes under the heading of ‘muda’ which relates to the elimination of waste in all forms.
Nine people from Aztec, from directors to members of the warehouse team, spent two days planning, brainstorming and discussing how best to utilise its existing space and the soon to be acquired new unit. Using a 42” plasma screen as an example, the team created maps of the current route that the screen and the people working on it will take as it is prepared and goes out to a show, and then as it comes back in.
Aztec operations director Steve Colesell said: “We were amazed at just how far the screen travelled during the time that it was being prepared and returned. The course, which was five days over two months, with a further four months of mentoring, helped us to map out our current processes and streamline them into something that was more process driven and closer to a production line. We have a great team in the warehouse, and these new processes should save time and make their jobs easier and more enjoyable, because they will cut time wasted.
“We deliberately timed this review to coincide with our move into the additional unit. Even though we haven’t yet moved, we have already found that things we have learned as part of the course are saving us time. There are many examples. One of these relates to how we prepare and test cables for screens. Rather than doing this as the screens are prepared to go out, cable sets are prepared and tested en masse and placed in a sealed bags ready to go out. As soon as any screen arrives back into the warehouse, we take out the old cables and drop a bag of tested cables into the box, so that we know that the cables are good to go”
“As a director, I went into this with an open mind, accepting the need for change. I can really see how this could benefit the whole company, as this way of thinking spreads throughout our staff, and as we encourage people to be more proactive. Change is hard for some people, but as we went through the course, you could see everyone embrace the idea.”
Fedden USP was delighted to be asked by Aztec to help the company implement business improvements. Colin Allaway, the Fedden USP sector specialist involved in the training, paid tribute to the commitment of the team: “The team at Aztec was fully committed to the programme and has really embraced the training, resulting in some significantly improvemed ideas and solutions, which are already being implemented. It was a real pleasure to work with the team at Aztec.”
Category: General Event Industry News